The Drug Report

Facts about what can go wrong when people use drugs

  • The Best Drug Info Ever?

    A big part of my inspiration for The Drug Report was Beth Pearce's amazing film, VOICE OF THE VICTIMS: TRUE STORIES OF ECSTASY AND KETAMINE. The film simply lets the victims of drug tragedies tell their stories. It's real life, it's undeniable, and it's incredibly powerful. I'm sure Beth has saved many, many lives, and it is my hope that this blog will do so as well. To learn more about her film, go to Voice Of The Victims.

    FACTS ARE FACTS

    A friend of mine likes to say, "You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."

    When it comes to drugs, there are lots of opinions out there: Some think drugs are safe and fun, some think they're dangerous and frightening, and many think everything in between.

    But facts are facts, and when someone dies from drugs, or someone is murdered by a person who is on drugs, or is raped by someone who has given them drugs, that's just a fact. Drug users who actively promote drug use rail against these facts, and I expect they'll be commenting regularly on The Drug Report. But they can't change the facts.

Archive for the ‘Charges & Trials’ Category

Bentler Charged With Family’s Murder

Posted by Childress on October 21, 2006

Shawn Bentler has been charged with murdering his mother, father and three sisters. 

No motive has been released, althought Bentler has also been charged with possession of drug paraphrenalia.

Here’s a chilling report from a local paper in Iowa:

A 22-year-old man has been charged with murdering his parents and three teenage sisters at their home in southeastern Iowa, a sheriff’s office said Sunday.

Shawn Bentler is accused of gunning down five family members and faces five counts of first-degree murder, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office said. He is being held on a $2.5 million bond at the Adams County jail in Quincy, Ill.

The victims were found early Saturday near Bonaparte, according to the sheriff’s office. They were identified as Michael Bentler, 53; his wife, Sandra, 47; and their daughters Sheena, 17; Shelby, 15; and Shayne, 14. Autopsies were planned for Sunday.

The sheriff’s office said that it received a 911 call from Shayne Bentler at 3:38 a.m. Saturday and that she told the dispatcher her brother was “going to do something.”

According to sheriff’s documents regarding the 911 tape, a gunshot is heard in the background and someone screams, “Shawn, no!” The line then goes dead.

Authorities said they received a second 911 call at the same time from the cell phone of Sandra Bentler. That call went unanswered.

The family has been laid to rest. The son awaits trial in jail.

Were drugs a factor in this story? I don’t know and won’t speculate, but I will certainly continue to follow the story.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Crimes | 1 Comment »

Addicted Pharmacist’s Mistake Kills Man

Posted by Childress on October 21, 2006

Walgreen’s pharmacist James Wilmes had a bad habit. He routinely slipped OxyContin and hydrocodone from stock and popped it. He’d done it for years. In a word, he was an addict.

His addiction just caught up with him, the way addictions often do. The Chicago Sun Post picks up the story:

Walgreens must pay $31 million to the loved ones of a 79-year-old Schaumburg man who died after being given the wrong prescription from a drug-using pharmacist.

Leonard Kulisek slipped into a coma a day after taking the wrong medication and suffered through a series of illnesses over the next 22 months before he died.

Pharmacist James Wilmes admitted he’d been popping OxyContin and hydrocodone for eight years, stealing the pills from the Walgreens stock he managed, and jurors said they believe he was under the influence on the day he gave Kulisek the wrong medication. …

Kulisek was supposed to get a pill for gout, but Wilmes instead gave him an insulin pill that dropped his blood-sugar levels dramatically, putting him into a coma and causing him kidney troubles.

Kulisek filed his lawsuit while he was still alive.

“Walgreens tells you they’re the pharmacy America trusts,” said Kulisek’s attorney, David Axelrod. “But you really can’t trust them.”

Jurors said they believed Kulisek’s deteriorating health was caused by the wrong prescription and contributed to his death, saying Walgreens’ failure to catch Wilmes’ thefts and signs of addiction played a role in their verdict.

Wilmes admitted he stole 86,000 pills in his career.

Of course, drugs didn’t make Wilmes kill Kulisek. They just made it possible for him to do so, but altering his perception of reality.

Could a similar mistake have happened if Wilmes wasn’t an addict? Certainly. But he was an addict and that made his fatal mistake a $31 million one.

The paper goes on to report that Wilmes was fired by Walgreens, has gone through rehap and continues work as a pharmacist, under probation. That’s worrisome, like an alcoholic working as a bartender.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Crimes, Prescription drugs | Leave a Comment »

Hints of Drugs in Family’s Slaying

Posted by Childress on October 14, 2006

Three teenage sisters, Sheena, Shelby and Shayne Bentler are dead — murdered — along with their parents, Michael and Sandra.

The only surviver of the Bonaparte, Iowa family is son Shawn, 24.

AP reports that he was arrested less than 60 miles away and charged with an unrelated crime — possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police are calling Shawn a suspect in the murder, but it’s obviously too early to draw conclusions.  The description of Shawn in the Des Moines Register doesn’t hint at trouble:

Shawn Bentler also spent time at his dad’s side at the family business, said Dustin Troutman, 22, who has known Shawn since preschool and was a classmate in high school.

Shawn was a popular guy, had lots of friends, and was living in Quincy, Ill. with another classmate from Harmony High. He was learning a house design program that he had shown Dustin Troutman on his laptop.

Dustin’s mom, Peggy Troutman, who owns the Bonaparte Mercantile, said Shawn Bentler often popped into her store to say hello. “I’ve never seen him mad,” she said. “He’s always in a good mood when I’ve seen him.”

He always had a different girlfriend, she said. “He was quite the ladies’
man,” she said.

Other friends said Shawn Bentler has fathered two children.

We’ll see what unfolds.

Posted in Charges & Trials | Leave a Comment »

Dealer Charged in Death of a Dad

Posted by Childress on October 9, 2006

Prosecution of drug dealers should become a deterrent to dealing potentially deadly drugs.  Here’s another case of a dealer being charged in the death of one of his customers:

A federal grand jury has charged a former nightclub host with selling cocaine and methadone to a businessman who died from an overdose.

Brandon Erwin, 29, used to work part-time at Blue Martini, a nightclub in the swanky International Plaza mall. Federal authorities allege in court papers that Erwin arranged ecstasy and methadone sales at the bar.

Among Erwin’s customers, authorities say, was Andrew Culver, 25, a father of two who worked recruiting accountants. Culver died in November.

An autopsy concluded Culver died of intoxication from the combined effects of cocaine and methadone, said Dick Bailey, operations manager for the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office.

If you deal drugs, take this into consideration.  Do you want to be a murderer?  Do you want to serve time in prison?

If you use drugs, please don’t mix them!

Posted in Charges & Trials, Ecstasy, Methadone | 2 Comments »

More Evidence of Rave Violence

Posted by Childress on October 9, 2006

This is not a huge point to me, but a frequent commentor regularly argues that Raves are violence-free, or close to it.  I question such generalities.  Here is documentation of aggravated robberies at a recent rave in Sydney, from AAP Newsfeed:

Police arrested and charged 24 people for possession of drugs or supplying drugs at a dance party in Homebush Bay.

Another six women were charged with aggravated robbery after two patrons were assaulted and had their tickets and money stolen.

Police said they searched 93 people at the event, Prophecy – Chaos Theory – Dance Party, held at the Acer Arena at Olympic Park last night.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Ecstasy | 5 Comments »

Midshipman Charged with Drug Rapes

Posted by Childress on October 4, 2006

Family and friends have attended the US Naval Academy at Anapolis, so I have a great deal of respect for the school.  But not all there is top-rate:

The Naval Academy has charged a former football player with drugging and raping two female midshipmen on separate occasions, including at a party attended by at least four teammates.

Kenny Ray Morrison, 24, is accused of raping one woman in a Georgetown hotel room at the rowdy, boozy party Feb. 4, and the other in Annapolis on April 21, according to charging documents. …

According to charging documents, which offer no details about the Annapolis incident, Morrison gave both of his alleged victims gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, also known as GHB, without their knowledge. It is a common date-rape drug that is also used recreationally.

As a midshipman, Morrison will be tried before a courts martial, the rules of which stipulate life in prison if he’s found guilty of rape.

Posted in Charges & Trials, GHB | 1 Comment »

A GHB Murder in South Dakota

Posted by Childress on September 28, 2006

From the Aberdeen (SD) American News:

A Northern State University student who was found dead last week in Pennsylvania was strangled after rejecting sexual advances from a sales manager for the company he was interning for, authorities have said.

Jason Shephard, 23, was found bound by belts and wrapped in sheets in the basement of William F. Smithson’s home in Thornbury Township, Pa., according to court documents. The Delaware County Times in Pennsylvania also reported that the basement contained a couch, mirrored ceiling and video equipment.

The 40-year-old Smithson, who worked in the Philadelphia office of the Brookings-based Daktronics Inc., was arrested and charged with first-, second- and third-degree murder, attempted rape, abuse of a corpse, aggravated assault, unauthorized administration of an intoxicant and tampering with evidence, a court official said Monday. Shephard, who was interning in Brookings, was in Pennsylvania on a three-day business trip.

According to reports from the Associated Press, Smithson allegedly slipped the date-rape drug GHB into Shephard’s drink during dinner Sept. 18 and then the next day reported him missing. Authorities found Shephard’s body around 6:30 p.m. Thursday after getting a tip from a former lover of Smithson’s.

Those who think only women have something to fear from drug-assisted rape, think again. GHB and its chemical brothers are frequently used against men — all too often with results like this.

Posted in Charges & Trials, GHB | 11 Comments »

Pot + Crack + Car = Death + Jail

Posted by Childress on September 12, 2006

Jeremia D. Spotts will spend the next 2 1/2 to 6 1/2 years in prison for a moment of bad judgment. And he’ll spend the rest of his life thinking about the husband and father he killed in a drug-induced car crash.  From the Lancaster (PA) Intelligencer Journal:

Melissa Wagner stood beside her daughter Thursday and sobbed as she admonished the man who killed her boyfriend, Thomas J. Mahan, in a car crash last year.

“The song I wanted to play at our wedding was played at his funeral,” she told Jeremiah D. Spotts. “Tom was my best friend. I go to bed alone looking at his picture and holding his shirt. He was my rock, and now he’s gone.”

Following the testimony of Wagner and other family members, Lancaster County Judge Michael J. Perezous sentenced Spotts, 28, of Peach Bottom, to 2½ to 6½ years in state prison.

Spotts pleaded guilty to felony homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence, possession of a small amount of marijuana and two traffic offenses. He also must pay $8,251 for Mahan’s funeral expenses and complete drug and alcohol counseling.

According to police, Spotts smoked crack cocaine and marijuana and was speeding when the 1985 Pontiac Trans Am he was driving on Route 272 in Pequea Township crashed into a tree shortly after 8:30 p.m.

Mahan, Spotts’ friend for 15 years, was ejected from the car and died from his injuries.

The article points out that Spotts hit a number of curbs and cars before the crash — plenty of warning for a rational person to realize he should be anywhere but behind the wheel. But drugs can be the enemy of rationality.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Cocaine, Marijuana | Leave a Comment »

Clinic Busted in Drug Death

Posted by Childress on September 9, 2006

Is someone who supplies drugs responsible  responsible for deaths caused by drugs?  If there ever was a case to make the cause, this is it, from the St. Petersburg (FL) Times:

Jason Fulford died in this bedroom eight months ago, a troubled young man who took too many pills.

His death has led the Sheriff’s office to make an arrest in an ongoing investigation into prescription drug abuse.

Sally Jane Medina, 45, was arrested on several charges related to improperly practicing medicine and trafficking in narcotics.  Authorities said she was working as a physicians assistant at the Doctors Urgent Care Clinic in January when she supplied Fulford with prescriptions for Xanax, Oxcodone and Percocet.

Fulford, 33, died as a result of taking the drugs he obtained with those prescriptions, the Sheriff’s office said.  Medina admitted to seeing Fulford and writing the prescription, according to an arrest affidavit. …

“They gave him enough pills to kill a healthy person,” said Fred C. Fulford, 35, Jason’s brother.  “My brother didn’t have to show proof of anything.  He had no X-rays, no note from a doctor. He had nothing.”

Prescription drugs require prescriptions for a reason — they are dangerous and require the monitoring of a medical professional.  And medical professionals who become drug dealers deserve jail time … lots of jail time.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Prescription drugs | Leave a Comment »

Gay Drug Party Ends in Death

Posted by Childress on September 4, 2006

The following article from the Glascow Evening Times blames David Steel’s death on Ecstasy, but it’s clear that there was much more at work within his body when he died.

A GLASGOW addiction psychiatrist has been accused of hosting a drug and drink fuelled gay party during which a man died.

Dr Clint Tatchell, 37, allegedly wrote a prescription for the tranquilliser Diazepam then misled police by tidying up his flat after David Steel, a former Mr Gay Glasgow, was found dead in his bed.

A General Medical Council fitness-to-practise hearing in London was told Mr Steel’s body was discovered at Dr Tatchell’s flat in Glasgow on September 21, 2003. Mr. Steel, 30, of the city’s Ingram Street, who died of an ecstasy overdose, had also taken heroin, cocaine and Diazepam in a binge that began two days before.

Dafydd Enoch, for the GMC, told the hearing: “The party was not just fuelled by drink, although there was vodka, beer, champagne and alcopops drunk. We say it was fuelled by drugs, certainly in Mr Steel’s case.

“Dr Tatchell orchestrated a thorough tidy up of the flat before police arrived following Mr Steel’s death. He had just found a dead body in his bed, he must have realised he should have touched nothing. What did he have to hide?”

The insane irony of this story is that Tatchell is an addiction psychiatrist.  He therefore knows professionally the effects of this much drug-taking.  If I were the prosecutor, I would go for whatever the English equivalent of first degree murder is, because the case can be made that he had knowledge and forethought.

Posted in Alcohol, Charges & Trials, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Prescription drugs | 6 Comments »

Drugged or Drunk?

Posted by Childress on September 4, 2006

That’s the name of an interesting article on Salon that tells the story of Emily Dowdy, who now resides in Oklahoma’s Mabel Bassett Correctional Center, convicted of DUI manslaughter after her car plowed into another, instantly killing the son of a local police chief.

The twist in this tale is that it’s highly likely that Dowdy had been drugged with GHB at the nightclub she was visiting prior to the accident and that she had been raped.

Read the story.  It presents a compelling case for police departments to consider the possibility of GHB as a causal factor in accidents, and to routinely test for presence of the drug.

Dowdy hopes to be released on appeal, but until the court decides, she is in prison, suffering from partial paralysis as a result of the accident — and if she was, in fact, drugged, the perp who drugged her, raped her and caused the death of a young man remains free.

Posted in Alcohol, Charges & Trials, GHB | 1 Comment »

Another Heroin-Fentanyl Murder Charge

Posted by Childress on September 1, 2006

Another man has been charged with homicide following the recent wave of 100 or more overdose deaths from heroin laced with the painkiller Fentanyl.

The charges were filed in Chicago, where authorities charged 35-year-old Corey Crump Thursday with homicide in the death of a police chief’s son who died after taking Fentanyl-spiked heroin.

The homicide charge was the first to stem from an investigation into numerous deaths attributed in part to the drug. Another man has been charged with homicide for a death caused by Fentanyl-spiked methadone.

A conviction could land Crump in prison for up to 30 years.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Heroin, Methadone, Prescription drugs | 1 Comment »

Tejano Star’s Drug Rape Trial Starts

Posted by Childress on August 29, 2006

Joe Lopez is a superstar, one of the most popular stars of the Tejano music that’s so popular along the Texas/Mexico border.

He’s also an alleged child rapist.

Lopez is charged with three counts of aggrevated sexual assault, one count of indency with a minor, and one count of providing GHB, Ketamine or rohypnal to her.

On the first day of his trial, Lopoez fired his attorneys — a classic delay tactic — and the trial was suspended until new attorneys can be found.  He’s in jail for now, but with jail set at a low $25,000, this is one singer who may be somewhere over the rainbow soon.

Posted in Charges & Trials, GHB, Ketamine | Leave a Comment »

Guilty Plea in Fentanyl-Methadone Deaths

Posted by Childress on August 22, 2006

Earlier this summer, hundreds died in the Midwest from a lethal mixture of the pain-killer fentanyl and either heroin or methadone.  Now that a guilty plea has solved three of the deaths, questions remain about the other 90+.

The following information was released by the U.S. Department of Justice:

United States Attorney Margaret M. Chiara announced the guilty plea of Robert Lee King to a federal charge of distribution of fentanyl causing death. Mr. King, age 40, of Charlevoix and Cheboygan Counties, Michigan, was facing three separate charges in a trial set to begin on August 21, 2006 in the Federal District Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The first charge alleged the distribution on January 8, 2005 of methadone and fentanyl, Schedule II controlled substances, resulting in the serious bodily injury and death of Emily Waskiewicz in Charlevoix County from the use of the methadone and fentanyl ….

The second charge involved a distribution of fentanyl on October 1, 2005 resulting in the serious bodily injury and death of Garry Sneller in Cheboygan County from the use of the fentanyl which King had originally obtained from a pharmacy in Boyne City, Michigan.

Fentanyl is a highly potent pain medication which typically is administered through patches worn on the skin.

The third charge alleged a conspiracy to distribute OxyContin in Charlevoix County and elsewhere from 1999-2004. A fourth charge was previously dismissed by the court. …

The charge of distribution of a controlled substance causing death carries a penalty of not less than 20 years and up to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $1 million.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Heroin, Methadone, Prescription drugs | 1 Comment »

Pieper, Veluz Case Suffers Setback

Posted by Childress on August 19, 2006

The man wanted for questioning in the deaths of Derek Pieper and Raymond Veluz, whose deaths I’ve written about several times (here, here, here), has been found shot to death in Florida.

The violent death of Jeremy Henry may make it impossible to ever learn what led Pieper and Veluz so far from their homes at 5 a.m. the morning they were killed. Initial reports hinted that Pieper’s use of drugs might have been involved, but many friends and family members have written me saying it wsa just a case of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The comments I’ve received about Raymond have been particularly glowing, so no matter what it was that got these two in the wrong part of town at the crack of dawn, it’s a shame.

Here’s the update, from The St. Petersburg Times:

Jeremy Henry was a mystery in life: a man who could be vicious to enemies yet also bought ice cream for neighborhood children, according to friends.

And the 20-year-old, who was gunned down early Sunday on a Dade City dirt road, left a mystery in his death: What happened to him? And what might Henry – wanted for questioning in the July 28 shooting deaths of two Wesley Chapel teens – have been able to tell authorities?

The county Sheriff’s Office had little to say on the case Monday, aside from listing the items in Henry’s pockets when he died:

The key to a mobile home near where his body was found. Marijuana. Methamphetamine. And a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun. …

Friends confirmed Henry stayed in the Dade City area, despite rumors he had fled the state.

But he was paranoid and not sleeping well.

“He was planning to turn himself in,” said his cousin, 24-year-old Bryan Wright. He said Henry was saving money, in anticipation of having to pay a jail bond, and a lawyer.

Henry has an extensive criminal history, dating to age 11. He was arrested most recently in March, charged with aggravated battery in a shooting that injured a Dade City man. The charges were dropped.

The Sheriff’s Office says he was the leader of a gang called Jeremy Henry’s Posse. Family members adamantly deny that.

“I know for a fact that this kid was no head of no gang, he was no part of no gang. He hung by himself,” said Catherine Wright, the aunt who raised him.

The Sheriff’s Office said Henry’s death is a setback in the investigation of who killed Derek Pieper, 17, and Raymond Veluz, 18, the Wesley Chapel teens found slain last month on a remote road in Trilby. Henry was never called a suspect but was wanted for questioning.

Pieper’s brother, Bryan, was unaffected by the news of Henry’s death: “I really don’t care. Sorry.”

Meth, marijuana, a gun, a cloud of suspicion and an early death. Jeremy Henry’s life may not have been a glamorous drug life, but it was a drug life.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Marijuana, Meth | Leave a Comment »