Pain Medicine: Ohio Doctor Freed on Bail During Appeal of Drug Trafficking Conviction 4/7/06

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!


https://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle-old/430/nucklos.shtml

Columbus physician William Nuckols, convicted on multiple drug trafficking counts for prescribing "unneeded" pain medications, including Oxycontin, and sentenced in February to 20 years in state prison, has regained his freedom after being granted bail while he appeals his conviction. Nuckols' motion for bail during his appeal was granted March 31. Now, he and his attorney are fighting to overturn his conviction.

Nuckols is only the latest in an ever-growing number of doctors convicted as drug traffickers by prosecutors who seek to criminalize medical decisions, but lauded by pain patients' advocates as caring physicians operating within the bounds of accepted medical practice. The tension between law enforcement and medicine over prescription pain relievers, primarily opioids, has only been exacerbated by the White House's declaration last year that prescription drug abuse was a rising menace.

Although his primary practice was in Columbus, Nuckols was charged over his once-weekly visits to an office on the East Side of Springfield after local pharmacists complained to police about filling large numbers of Oxycontin prescriptions from his patients. Police sent in undercover agents who complained of pain and were prescribed pain pills by Dr. Nuckols. Prosecutors charged that Nuckols was running a "pill mill," and that he prescribed opioids without proper examinations or medical histories, as well as poor record-keeping.

But Nuckols and his defense argued that he was prescribing within the accepted bounds of medical practice and serving a poor, minority, underserved community. Many of Nuckols' patients attended the trial and his sentencing and testified on his behalf.

In his appeal, Nuckols and defense attorney John Flannery will argue that Nuckols would not have been convicted barring prosecutorial misconduct and improperly presented expert testimony. The state's expert witness at trial was Dr. Theodore Parran, an internist and addictionologist who "searches for reasons not to prescribe, rather than to ease pain," Flannery noted. As such he has no expertise in the field of pain medicine and the court and Nuckols' trial attorney should have challenged his testimony.

Prosecutors allowed one of their key witnesses, Raymona Swyers, to testify that she was had been doctor-shopping, or seeking prescriptions from multiple doctors, and that Dr. Nuckols knew it, when in Swyers' original statements to police, she said the doctors were not aware she was seeing other physicians. Prosecutors are bound to disclose such information to the defense, but failed to do so.

Another prosecution witness who gave damaging testimony against Dr. Nuckols was a Dr. Romano. Romano, too, had prescribed pain pills to Swyers, and the prosecution knew this, but failed to disclose that information to the defense. As Flannery dryly noted, that Romano had been suckered by the same person as Nuckols "would tend to impeach Dr. Romano's testimony."

Nuckols and Flannery will also challenge the judge's instructions to the jury, which they called more akin to a civil proceeding in a standard of care case than a criminal matter involving the crime of drug dealing.

Thanks in part to activists with the Pain Relief Network (PRN), which worked with Nuckols and Flannery on the appeal and the bail bid, Nuckols will now have a chance to seriously challenge his conviction.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #430 -- 4/7/06

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

Editorial: Stopping Bongs, Not Bombs (Evidently) | Feature: Measure to Make Drug Czar Research "Frankenstein Fungus" to Destroy Drug Crops Heads to the Senate | Feature: Pittsburgh Needle Exchange Under Attack, But May Come Out Ahead | Feature: As the Well Runs Dry, Texas Drug Task Forces Ride Off Into the Sunset | Offer: Important New Legalization Video Available | Feedback: Do You Read Drug War Chronicle? | Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Law Enforcement: NYPD Shuts Down Chelsea Clubs Over Drug Violations | Search and Seizure: Cops, School District to Pay Students $1.2 Million in Goose Creek Raid Settlement | Paraphernalia: ICE Raids South Florida Head Shops | Pain Medicine: Ohio Doctor Freed on Bail During Appeal of Drug Trafficking Conviction | Pregnancy I: Cocaine Use is Not Child Abuse, New Mexico Appeals Court Says | Pregnancy II: Expectant Mothers Who Expose Fetuses to Drugs Can't Be Convicted as Drug Dealers Under Fetal Rights Law, Texas Appeals Court Rules | Medical Marijuana: Reagan Aide Lyn Nofziger Dead at 81 -- Supported Patients' Rights | Europe: Italy Sets Quantity Guidelines for Tough New Drug Law | Latin America: Pro-Coca Upstart Poised to Win First Round of Peruvian Presidential Election | Web Scan: WOLA at House Andes Hearings, Mycoherbicides Again, Broken Windows Debunked, CBC on Coca and Peru's Election, Denver Post, Meth Legalization | Weekly: This Week in History | Job Opportunities: System Administrator and Grassroots Organizer at MPP | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar


This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]