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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A Georgia mother battles opioids to win back her kids

Kim Silvers’ family had begged her to stop using opioids and heard her promise to do so, only to break that vow repeatedly. They’d cried when she abandoned them, and again when they were sent to different foster homes. Then their mother enlisted in a rigorous court-run treatment program – her best, last chance to avoid permanent loss of her children.

Cherokee Nation sues drug firms, retailers for flooding communities with opioids

Lawyers for the Cherokee Nation opened a new line of attack against the pharmaceutical industry Thursday, filing a lawsuit in tribal court that accuses the nation’s six top drug distributors and pharmacies of flooding communities in Oklahoma with hundreds of millions of highly addictive pain pills.

Coeur d’Alene doctor knew nothing of Las Vegas stripper wife’s drug empire

Dr. Stanley Toelle’s money flowed freely to support the lifestyle of his Las Vegas wife, Loren. In a court statement, she says he had no idea she was involved in a multistate drug trafficking and money laundering enterprise that distrubuted heroin, methamphetamine and oxycodone pills in Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, Missoula and other cities.

Doctor gets 30 years to life in case tied to overdoses

A judge on Friday sentenced a Rowland Heights doctor to 30 years to life in prison for the murders of three of her patients who fatally overdosed, ending a landmark case that some medical experts say could reshape how doctors nationwide handle prescriptions.

Police say man posed as federal agent in attempt to obtain narcotic

Spokane police arrested a Coeur d’Alene man Monday who allegedly claimed to be a federal agent in an attempt to get an oxycodone prescription from a pain management clinic in East Central Spokane. Ronald R. Johnson, 58, faces a prescription forgery charge, according to court documents. During a Sept. 25 visit to the clinic, he allegedly provided a fake birth date, address and social security number on paperwork.

Four found guilty in federal painkiller case

Four defendants in a scheme that brought thousands of illicit painkillers weekly to Spokane from California were found guilty Friday by a federal jury. Arvin Carmen, Donta Blackmon, Brandon Chavez and Karlynn Tones were convicted of various charges including distribution of oxycodone, a painkiller that’s outlawed for nonprescription use. Carmen also was found guilty of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise for his role in the scheme.

OxyContin smuggled into Spokane on flights, investigators say

Women with ties to a Los Angeles gang smuggled about 10,000 illicit pills a week for several years through Spokane International Airport, according to federal investigators. The painkillers were sold by Spokane drug dealers and the cash collected was then often flown back to California, sometimes in bundles of bills totaling more than $100,000 stashed in checked luggage.

Dozens of drug ring suspects face local trial

Federal prosecutors may boost Spokane’s travel economy the hard way: They intend to transport dozens of suspects indicted in a massive oxycodone distribution ring to Spokane from Los Angeles for prosecution. Federal agents raided 47 locations between the two cities Feb. 28 and arrested more than 40 suspects. However, more than 20 suspects remain at large as part of an indictment charging 62 individuals with a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone between the two cities.

Prescription drug abuse, deaths target of new Washington law

At the height of his addiction, Joshua Dameron would cruise through emergency rooms in Spokane, hoping to score his next fix. Dameron got hooked on prescription pain medication after suffering a herniated disk while working in a dynamite factory. He’s one of thousands of Washington citizens who have gotten addicted to narcotic pain medications over the last decade. One doctor called the pain meds, which go by names such as Vicodin, Percoset and OxyContin, just a “fancy form of heroin.”