An Oklahoma doctor has been charged with murder after five of her patients died from an "horrifyingly excessive amount" of painkillers and other drugs she had prescribed them.
The charges were filed in the District Court of Oklahoma County against Regan Nichols, an osteopathic physician in Midwest City, Oklahoma, on Friday morning.
During the hearing, Nichols was asked if she thought she had prescribed too much medication to her patients.
Nichols, an osteopathic physician, is accused of prescribing controlled unsafe substances to patients without a legitimate medical need and in quantities and circumstances that disregarded human life. "During this same time period, ten (10) patients have died from overdoses of the very same drugs she was prescribing in massive doses". Court documents say Nichols knowingly prescribed controlled unsafe substances to the patients in risky quantities when there was no legitimate need.
When she was interviewed by OBN officials earlier in 2015, Nichols described how she tried to discipline her patients so that they would comply with the agency's drug screen policies.
Adding, 'Nichols prescribed patients, who entrusted their well-being to her, a horrifyingly excessive amount of opioid medications.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter condemned Nichols' alleged actions.
Nichols was booked into the Oklahoma County Jail on Friday afternoon on a $50,000 bond.
The charges are for the deaths of five women, ranging from 21 to 55 years old.
A state investigation also found that Nichols prescribed more than three million doses of controlled risky drugs from 2010-2014.
Law enforcement agents aren't just going after drug dealers and Mexican cartels - they're also targeting pharmaceutical companies and doctors, who they say are irresponsibly flooding the nation with potent painkillers, and holding them responsible for overdose deaths.
Investigators declared that Nichols "either didn't know or didn't care what she was doing". She also prescribed a lethal mixture of an opioid pain reliever, an anti-anxiety drug and a muscle relaxer to three patients.
Opioids -mostly painkillers and heroin- were responsible for the deaths of over 33,000 people across the United States in 2015.
Data gathered by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics said that from January 1, 2010 to October 7, 2014, Nichols prescribed in excess over 3 million dosage units of controlled risky substances. The patient was dead six days later. On Wednesday, for example, Missouri's attorney general sued three large pharmaceutical companies, claiming their "campaign of fraud and deception" led to a startling opioid crisis in the state.