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Criminal defense: Nurse practitioner accused of manslaughter

An Alaska grand jury recently indicted a nurse practitioner following the opioid overdose-related death of a 22-year-old woman. The woman faces felony drug distribution charges, and both she and a co-defendant face manslaughter charges. These are some of the most severe crimes, and these defendants will likely rely upon an experienced criminal defense attorney as the cases head to court.

Reportedly, the nurse practitioner was arrested earlier this month after an investigation that led to accusations of prescribing opioids to the co-defendant, knowing that she was involved in pill diversion. That individual, in turn, allegedly sold the opioids to the 22-year-old woman who overdosed and died within 90 minutes. Reportedly the co-defendant is from out of state.

In addition, the nurse practitioner is accused of issuing prescriptions in a manner that violated state statutes and health care regulations. Investigators allege she based prescriptions on messages via Facebook and without examining patients to assess their pain. According to the indictment, this practice started in 2016 and continued through 2018. The arrest followed an investigation over several years involving private, federal, state and local agencies.

Alaska statutes provides for distribution of controlled substances through legitimate medical practice in compliance with state regulations. Anyone in Alaska who faces manslaughter and drug-related charges will likely be best served by securing the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney at the earliest opportunity. The indictment is not evidence of guilt, and the charges will remain mere accusations until, and only if, the prosecution can prove guilt in court and beyond a reasonable doubt.