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Published: Thursday, March 1, 2012, 5:37 p.m.

Marysville man charged with manslaughter after teen’s fatal overdose

MARYSVILLE -- A suspected drug dealer accused of providing a prescription painkiller to a Marysville teenager is now facing serious legal trouble.
Prosecutors have charged Darren Pevny, 22, with second-degree manslaughter in connection with the June 18 death of a Marysville Getchell High School student.
Pevny, of Marysville, is accused of providing the girl with oxymorphone, a highly addictive narcotic prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain.
The girl fatally overdosed on a combination of oxymorphone, cocaine, alcohol and a doctor-prescribed anti-depressant, according to court documents filed Wednesday in Snohomish County Superior Court.
She was just 17.
Prosecutors don't name the girl in court papers, instead referring to her by her initials.
The Herald also hasn't named the girl because of her age and the circumstances of her death.
Pevny and his girlfriend, 19, reportedly told police that they were with the girl the night before she died. Pevny bought a bottle of tequila and shared it with the teens before they all left for a party, where there was beer and cocaine available, court papers said. The older girl told detectives that the high-schooler may have done some cocaine while at the party. The three left the party during the early hours of June 18. They picked up some fast food before returning to the Marysville home that Pevny shared with his parents.
Once there, Pevny reportedly crushed up one oxymorphone pill and part of another. The three reportedly each snorted a line. The girl quickly fell asleep, according to Pevny and his girlfriend. They moved her to the floor and they took the bed. They told detectives that they heard her snoring loudly during the early morning hours.
Pevny reportedly woke up around 1 p.m. and noticed that something was wrong with the girl. He said he tried to wake her but she didn't have a pulse. Pevny yelled for his parents. His father began life-saving efforts and Pevny called 911, court papers said.
Paramedics were unable to revive the girl.
Marysville police officers interviewed Pevny and his girlfriend, who initially reported that the girl had smoked marijuana and drank some alcohol, court papers said. Later they reportedly admitted that Pevny provided Opana, a brand name for oxymorphone.
The couple also allegedly admitted that Pevny sold drugs, including marijuana and pills, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Julie Mohr wrote.
Detectives collected scales, ledgers and jars containing marijuana from Pevny's bedroom, court papers said. They also found an empty tequila bottle in the back of his girlfriend's car.
The medical examiner determined that the girl died from "acute intoxication with the combined effects of oxymorphone, cocaine, sertraline and ethanol," court papers said. The girl had been prescribed sertraline, a common anti-depressant, according to court papers. Blood tests showed a normal therapeutic level of that drug in the girl's body. The amount of oxymorphone was found to be within a known lethal range, Mohr wrote.
Mohr alleged that Pevny's criminal negligence in providing drugs caused the girl's death.
It is common to see a mix of drugs in fatal overdoses, said Lt. Mark Richardson with the Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force.
Statistics show that people in Snohomish County are more likely to die from an accidental drug overdose than in a car accident. The majority of unintentional poisoning deaths are caused by opioids, such as oxycodone.
Prescription pain medication abuse also ushered in another trend -- an increase in heroin use. The street price of prescription drugs increased and the manufacturer of OxyContin changed the formula in an effort to prevent people from abusing the drug. Additionally, health care providers became more educated about the potential for abuse, Richardson said. Recently, the state created a prescription monitoring program to cut down on people who "doctor shop" or search for the multiple physicians they need to write prescriptions for powerful painkillers.
Snohomish County officials also launched a program to take back unused medications. They encourage people to dispose of their medications in an effort to prevent abuse. Lawmakers for a couple of years have considered requiring the drug companies to pay for statewide take-back programs.
Since the rise in prescription drug abuse, police and health care providers have seen a spike in heroin users. Police recently have noticed an increase in black tar heroin -- a more pure form of the drug with potentially more dangerous consequences.
"People never know the purity level until it's too late," Richardson said.
Snohomish County prosecutors have a history of charging the people who provide the drugs in fatal overdoses. Last year a Mountlake Terrace man was sentenced to more than eight years for providing a fatal dose of heroin to a teenager. He was convicted of controlled substance homicide and delivery of heroin.
Pevny is scheduled to answer to the manslaughter charge later this month.
He has no prior felony convictions. He has been convicted of four misdemeanors, including public nuisance and reckless driving, court papers said.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

How to discard medications
For more information about how to dispose of unwanted medications, call 425-388-3199. Drop-off boxes are available at most police stations in Snohomish County.
Story tags » MarysvilleCrimeProsecution

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