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Methadone in the News

April 27, 2002 - VERO BEACH An anguished Vero Highlands mother cried out for justice Friday.

Justice for her OxyContin-addicted son, Frank "Tony" Barnard Jr., 26, who went into a coma Monday and died of acute renal failure Wednesday at Indian River Memorial Hospital, she said.
Justice for her daughter, Tina Smith, 27, of Martin County, who died of an OxyContin overdose July 13, she said.

Justice for her brother, Floyd Baker, 44, an OxyContin addict who died March 29, 2001.

And justice for all the other patients of a Port St. Lucie doctor accused of trafficking in prescription drugs and continuing a criminal enterprise.

At a news conference in her living room, Connie Sue Velie, 46, blamed Dr. Asuncion Luyao for the deaths of her children. Both were patients of Luyao and had received multiple prescriptions for OxyContin and other drugs, including, in her son's case, methadone and Xanax, she said.

Velie also called on prosecutors to press murder charges.

"I had three children. Now I have one left," she said. "(Luyao) should be held accountable."

State attorneys have said they are considering homicide charges against Luyao. Prosecutors could not be reached Friday for an update.

Velie's remaining son, Jeremiah Barnard, 24, said his brother broke his ankle about three years ago and had several screws and pins implanted. The injury must have been the reason his brother sought treatment for pain, he said.

The younger brother said Frank Barnard started taking OxyContin about 2 years ago and was on methadone treatment to kick the habit when he died.

Luyao, 60, was arrested March 26 after months of investigation and is in the St. Lucie County jail unable to post $1.83 million bail.

More than 50 people including patients, members of the local Filipino community and her family have appeared at court hearings to support Luyao, a native of the Philippines.

Barnard died the day his mother filed a malpractice suit against Luyao for her daughter's death, said attorney Philip DeBerard, of Stuart, who is handling the case. He anticipates a lawsuit will be filed in her son's death.

BOONE CO., WV, Feb. 19 - A drug problem in Boone County is costing some people their lives. Since November at least 5 people have died because of incorrect drug use. Police say these victims were all drug addicts at one point trying to kick the habit.

When you're addicted to a narcotic like oxycontin or cocaine sometimes you're given a prescription for methadone. That can come in the form of a pill. Some people are prescribed a duragesic patch. Both these medications are used to lesson the effects of the withdrawal you experience when you give up your drug of choice. The problem comes in when you combine the patch or methadone with the narcotic. The combination can be deadly. Boone County Chief Deputy Rodney Miller says, "we're learning ourselves along the way as to how this drug will interact with other drugs, but the education is coming at the cost of other lives apparently because we're seeing what's taken place after the fact."
Since November 24 five adults in Boone County have died. The youngest was 28 - the oldest was 42. Miller tells us these men and women have died with high levels of methadone in their systems. Timmy McKinny has a friend who was using methadone to control his drug problem. McKinny doesn't like the idea of treating one drug addiction with another drug. McKinny says, "I don't think that it's right that they do that I think they should find some other way to that without using other drugs".
The big push now in Boone County is to make people aware of the
dangers of mixing methadone and other drugs.


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