OKLAHOMA CITY – A former patient of a doctor charged with over-prescribing dangerous opioids, leading to multiple deaths according to prosecutors, says her arrest is a “relief.”
Dr. Regan Nichols, 57, was arrested at her Midwest City home Friday afternoon, charged with five counts of second-degree homicide. She is currently in the Oklahoma County jail.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced the charges at a press conference Friday afternoon, accused of murdering patients with a deadly dose of prescription drugs.
“Dr. Nichols violated this honored, very sacred oath in her actions over the last number of years and it is the intention of our office to hold her accountable for her actions,” Hunter said.
Prosecutors say ten patients of Nichols died of overdoses over the span of four years; the charges stem from a multi-agency investigation into five of those deaths.
“Each one of the individuals was prescribed an excessive amount of medication the same months of their deaths which were all the result of multi-drug toxicity, according to the Oklahoma Examiner’s reports,” Hunter said.
Martina Troy, one of Nichols’ patients, said she became addicted to the powerful opioids and eventually went to investigators with her concerns.
“Are you clean and sober now?” I asked her at her northwest Oklahoma City home.
“I am. I still struggle, I won’t lie, I still struggle a bit,” Troy, 56, said. “But I’m much better, nothing like I was.”
Troy says while under Nichols’ care, there were months she “got over 500 pills.”
Seeking treatment for fibromyalgia and hip pain, Troy says she quickly became addicted to the pills.
“It’s like running on a treadmill and you can’t get off. It’s the worst feeling, you can’t run out of medication. I had times I almost wrecked my car getting back to her office to get a prescription,” she said. “I had a couple times I woke up gasping for breath and slobbering and I knew I was very lucky that I hadn’t died.”
According to court documents, prosecutors allege that between January 2010 and October 2014, Nichols prescribed more than three million doses of controlled dangerous substances. Five people who died were prescribed more than 1,800 opioid pills in the same months of their deaths.
Hunter says nearly 3,000 Oklahomans have died from opioid overdoses in as many years.
“That’s unacceptable, one is unacceptable,” Hunter said. “So going forward, we have to deal with this challenge and it is an epidemic that is comprehensive.”
The Attorney General’s office says Nichols has practiced medicine in the state for more than 20 years. In 2015, her ability to prescribe dangerous controlled substances was stripped by the state.
She is currently in the Oklahoma County jail on a $50,000 bond. Online court records do not indicate if she has an attorney.