Former addict awarded millions for what his doctor prescribed

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Former Addict Awarded Millions for What His Doctor Prescribed

(KTVI) – Some addicts don't need to buy a heroin high off the streets. Two lawyers claim their client obtained potentially lethal doses by visiting his doctor.

Attorneys John Simon and Tim Cronin recently won a $17.6 million lawsuit for a man hooked on legally prescribed opiate pain pills.

Court records indicate the daily dose for one man rose from about six pills a day in 2008 to an average of almost 40 pills daily in 2012. The milligram equivalent in 2012 was more than 1,500 milligrams per day.

Photo credit: Tribune/KTVI

"This chart illustrates the rising milligram doses for one patient over the course of five years. The red line on this graph indicates the daily recommended guideline, as found in medical records by attorneys Simon and Cronin.")

John Simon said, "Just the sheer number of pills he was given should`ve opened somebody`s eyes."

The prescribing doctor was Henry Walden.

I asked Simon, "Do you think the doctor knew how much he was prescribing?" He answered, "He certainly should have."

The attorneys say their client is lucky he survived. Simon said, "420,000 emergency room visits in one year related to prescription opiate pain killers. That`s staggering."

Cronin added, "It`s legal heroin that doctors can prescribe. It affects the brain in the same way."

See more on this multimillion dollar lawsuit:

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Former addict awarded millions for what his doctor prescribed
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Former addict awarded millions for what his doctor prescribed
Attorneys John Simon and Tim Cronin recently won a $17.6 million lawsuit for a man hooked on legally prescribed opiate pain pills.
Attorneys John Simon and Tim Cronin recently won a $17.6 million lawsuit for a man hooked on legally prescribed opiate pain pills.
Attorneys John Simon and Tim Cronin recently won a $17.6 million lawsuit for a man hooked on legally prescribed opiate pain pills.
Attorneys John Simon and Tim Cronin recently won a $17.6 million lawsuit for a man hooked on legally prescribed opiate pain pills.
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Their client did not want to talk publicly, but the attorneys said he wants more than the judgment. They say he wants to stop an epidemic.

Cronin said even a pharmacy seemed to detect a problem. He explained, "A pharmacy that called and said we will not fill this prescription. What we learned was that Dr. Walden wrote a new prescription out and gave it to Brian and sent him to another pharmacy."

Simon and Cronin said their client finally figured out the pills he was taking for back pain were ruining his life. He sought treatment, got clean and took legal action.

RELATED: Colombia provides clean needles for heroin users

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NTP: Colombia provides clean needles for heroin users
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NTP: Colombia provides clean needles for heroin users
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 photo, a heroin addict disposes of used syringes before receiving a kit with a new ones in Dosquebradas, Colombia. Faced with a dramatic rise in drug consumption, Colombiaâs Health Ministry hopes to replicate the needle exchange program in other cities such as Bogota and Medellin. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 photo, Juan Carlos injects heroin into his arm after receiving a kit with clean syringes from social workers from the Cambie program in Dosquebradas, Colombia. Social workers of the program supported by the Open Society Foundation and government agencies tour the streets of the town every night in search of heroin addicts to swap out their used syringes so they donât end passing from arm to arm, increasing the risk of transmitting HIV or hepatitis. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 photo, a drug addict prepares shoot up heroin after receiving a kit including a spoon, a rubber tube, cotton, sterilized water and clean syringes distributed by a program sponsored by the Open Society Foundation and government agencies in Dosquebradas, Colombia. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 photo, a heroin addict disposes of used syringes before receiving a kit with a new ones in Dosquebradas, Colombia. Faced with a dramatic rise in drug consumption, Colombiaâs Health Ministry hopes to replicate the needle exchange program in other cities such as Bogota and Medellin. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 photo, Maria Isabel Velazquez, a social worker from the Cambie program, sits at the back of the vehicle she drives around every night looking for heroin addicts in Dosquebradas, Colombia. The group, comprised of recovering addicts, also tests illicit drugs for their purity so junkies can see what dangerous adulterants theyâre consuming. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 photo, Juan Carlos prepares to shoot up with heroin after receiving a kit with clean syringes from social workers the Cambie program in Dosquebradas, Colombia. Colombia is one of only two heroin producers in the Western Hemisphere and drug consumption in the country is rising fast. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 photo, used syringes sit in a bin after being disposed by heroin addicts in exchange for a kit containing new ones in Dosquebradas, Colombia. Here, programs for users have received scant support compared to the billions of dollars spent pursuing powerful drug cartels. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 photo, Wilson Pineda, 39, prepares to shoot up heroin after receiving a kit with a rubber tube and clean syringes from social workers in Dosquebradas, Colombia. Pineda said heâs been shooting up heroin for the past three years and that he periodically swaps used syringes for clean ones distributed for free by social workers. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 photo, drug addicts claim kits containing clean syringes from social workers from the Cambie program in Dosquebradas, Colombia. Every night workers of the program sponsored by the Open Society Foundation and government agencies drive around areas of the town were drug addicts regularly meet to hand out the kits in exchange for used syringes. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 photo, drug addicts receive kits including a rubber tube and new syringes in Dosquebradas, Colombia. The 18-month-old pilot program, supported by philanthropist George Sorosâ Open Society Foundation has attracted attention in a country long identified with the war on drugs. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)
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Dr. Walden did not want to talk, but his employer, St. Louis University Medical Center gave the following response.

"The health and well-being of our patients is always our highest priority, and our physicians are deeply committed to providing compassionate, quality care. We are very disappointed in the verdict in this case, and we will pursue all avenues for review of the decision." Nancy Solomon, Communications Director.

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