Kansas doctor sentenced to life in prison after death of opioid overdose



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A Kansas doctor convicted of opioid overdose was sentenced to life in prison.

The sentence handed down on Friday to 57-year-old Steve Henson at the Wichita Federal Court caused an audible murmur in the crowded audience hall, reports said.

"I've already sentenced people to life," Judge Thomas Marten told Henson, according to the Wichita Eagle. "They are people who took weapons and shot people."

The victim of the overdose, Nick McGovern, 32, went to Henson's home and was over-prescribed as an anti-anxiety drug, alprazolam and methadone, used to wean heroin addicts, according to the jury. McGovern passed away in 2015.

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"Before you, he would not even take aspirin for the headache," Denise McGovern told Henson, referring to her son, according to the newspaper. "… he was sent to you by his doctor. You made him become an addict. "

McGovern's wife, Burgundy Castillo, quoted by the Eagle said: "No sentence will take us back to Nick, but if Steven Henson treated Nick instead of allowing him, he would still be with us today."

Henson said he was armed with a handgun when he saw patients "because of the clientele with which he deals," the newspaper reported in 2017, citing court documents.

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The case against Henson, which also resulted in convictions for other indictments, was part of a crackdown campaign carried out in the US. national scale against doctors accused of over-prescription opioids.

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"We are facing an epidemic," said Stephen McAllister, Wichita's US Attorney. "Nationwide, more than 70,000 Americans have died in 2017 from a drug overdose. That's more than all the American victims during the war in Vietnam. "

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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