Pharmacy in Ersland Case Investigated for Drug Sales in OKC

Most Oklahomans first heard of the small Reliable Discount Pharmacy after a pharmacist, Jerome Ersland, shot and killed a would-be robber there.  The case was fraught with complications as Ersland maintained he acted in self defense and prosecutors alleged that Ersland killed 16-year-old Antwun "Speedy" Parker after he was no longer a threat.  

Narcotics Sale from Retail Pharmacy

Ersland was sentenced to life in prison. Now Reliable Discount Pharmacy is in the news again as the District Attorney's office and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control have begun to investigate the high number of narcotic drug sales at the small pharmacy.

The case began on February 1, when Cardinal Health, Inc., the distributor for Reliable Discount Pharmacy, suspended shipments of controlled dangerous substances to the pharmacy.  Cardinal Health, Inc. stopped the shipments after it determined that narcotics sent to Reliable Discount Pharmacy had an "unreasonable risk for potential diversion."

Reliable Discount Pharmacy then sued Cardinal Health, Inc., to resume shipments, and an Oklahoma County judge agreed that shipments should continue for 45 days while she considers the case.  However, prosecutors have asked the judge to allow the discontinuance of narcotics shipments to the pharmacy, stating that the small pharmacy has sold more of the three most abused prescription drugs over the last two years than three nearby pharmacies combined--including national chains Walmart and Walgreens.

Attorneys for the pharmacy say that Reliable Discount Pharmacy is in compliance with state and federal drug laws and that it has updated drug handling policies to address the concerns of their distributor.  They say that the reason the pharmacy outsells nearby competitors in controlled dangerous substances is that they cater to a low-income population without the insurance to offset the cost of their medication and without the financial means to pay the prices demanded at chain pharmacies.

Oklahoma Prescription Drug Problems

Prosecutors and defense lawyers alike see prescription drug abuse as a problem for our state. Recent statistics have shown Oklahoma to be the top-ranked state for prescription drug abuse.  Other facts about the state's growing drug problem are just as startling:

  • There is an average of two drug overdose deaths per day in the state
  • More people die of drug overdose than in motor vehicle accidents
  • 4 out of 5 drug overdose deaths are the result of prescription drugs
While most people think of drug abuse in terms of illegal drugs such as meth, Oklahoma City drug crimes attorneys are seeing more and more clients arrested for drug fraud and illegal possession of prescription drugs.  

Drug abusers do not generally fit the stereotype of a drug addict.  Rather, they are often typical, middle class people who become addicted to their medication following an injury or teens with easy access to narcotics in their parents' medicine chests.  OU Linebacker Austin Box, who died of a drug overdose in 2011, has become the face of those who seem to have it all but lose everything as a result of addiction.

Painkillers are highly addictive.  Often, people taking a legitimately prescribed narcotic become dependent on the drug and may take illegal action to assuage their dependency.  If you are charged with prescription drug fraud, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, or other drug offense, get help by finding a drug defense lawyer in Oklahoma City.

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