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Spokane dentist arrested for DUI accused of taking opioids prescribed to sister

Data shows that Nicholas Harker has prescribed Hydrocodone and Carisoprodol, a muscle relaxer, to his sister 21 times since December 2016.

SPOKANE, Wash. — A Spokane dentist arrested on suspicion of DUI in May is accused of prescribing opioids to his sister and taking them himself, court records say.

Detectives began investigating Nicholas R. Harker, 36, for unlawfully prescribing opioids after he was arrested after a crash on Highway 395.  

According to court records, Harker is a registered dentist who practices at My Dentist on Hawthorne Road in Spokane.

On May 2, Harker was involved in a one-vehicle crash on Highway 395 where he left the road and struck a yield sign, court records say. He was not injured.

At the scene of the crash, a paramedic handed a responding Washington State Patrol trooper a prescription bottle for Hydrocodone Acetaminophen, according to court records.

According to court records, the prescription was written to a woman who Harker identified as his sister. Detectives later confirmed this information.

The prescription was issued and filled on May 1, 2019, and investigators said approximately half of the 28 pills were gone. The dosage was for four pills per day.

Harker admitted to the trooper that he had the prescription to “give her [his sister] some” of them and had no other explanation as to why he had the pills that he prescribed and dispensed for someone else, court records say.

The trooper noted that Harker was "slow and lethargic," consistent with someone under the influence of narcotics, according to court records. Troopers arrested Harker under suspicion of DUI and a loaded 9mm pistol was also found in his vehicle.

The relevant blood toxicology results are pending, court records say.

Court records say that video and images show Harker picking up the prescription on May 1, the day before the crash, in the same car he was driving the next day.

Data from the state Prescription Monitoring Program also shows that Harker has prescribed Hydrocodone and Carisoprodol, a muscle relaxer, to his sister 21 times since December 2016. Authorities noted that both drugs have a high potential for abuse.

“This conduct is not representative to the public trust placed in a medical professional with access to controlled drugs with high potential for abuse,” a detective wrote in court records.

A search warrant has been issued for Harker’s dental office in hopes of seizing controlled substances, narcotics paraphernalia, records of prescription sales, financial records, weapons and other items that may be relevant to the investigation, court records say.

The website for Harker’s dental practice says he studied at Eastern Washington University before studying dentistry at Marquette University. He also serves as a member of the Spokane District Dental Society, American Dental Association and Washington State Dental Association.

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