For David and Kay Currie, May 1 is a date seared into their memory.
Two years ago, their only child died of a methadone overdose in Savannah.
Andrew Glenn “Drew” Currie was not a patient in a drug treatment facility, but his parents are convinced the dose that killed him came from a clinic in Garden City.
Drew Currie was suffering excruciating headaches related to brain bleeds that were misdiagnosed until after his death.
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His parents believe he tried the drug to see if it would relieve his pain.
For 24 months, the Laurens County couple has clamored for the attention of homicide investigators, prosecutors, state regulators and lawmakers.
David Currie wired himself with a hidden video camera to conduct interviews and compiled volumes of reports and e-mails as evidence.
“We are just trying to trust the Lord that we can find some justice for Drew and prevent other families from going through this,” David Currie said Monday after picking up new plants for his late son’s water garden.
Wednesday, the Curries’ attorney, J. Stanley Smith, of Dublin, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Superior Court of Chatham County.
The suit names the methadone clinic, Georgia Therapy Associates; CEO Terry Willis and Frances Willis, who is the compliance officer for the clinic; program director Irwin James; Medical Director, Dr. Kennedy Okere; pharmacists Owoidogho “Hogan” Ukpong and Allen Harvey; and clinic patients Nicholas Anthony Hall and Abraham Boggs, who are accused of providing Currie with the methadone.
Smith said David Currie’s investigation compiling the case against the clinic, its operators and patients is absolutely amazing.
“David has done a great deal of work,” Smith said. “If he hadn’t done the work, it might have been difficult to find an attorney to take the case.”
The Curries first sought out Tennessee attorney Billy Gribble, who represents other clients affected by methadone.
Gribble was alarmed by the evidence they presented about clinic inspections, reports and violations.
“Georgia is out of control with licensing methadone clinics. Why is that?” Gribble asked. “What you’ll find there is so much money to be made and the way you can run a clinic without much oversight.”
The lawsuit tells of a whistle-blower nurse who alerted clinic management that Hall was diverting methadone, yet the clinic failed to follow their own procedures to prevent diversion, Gribble said.
Hall was charged in Oct. 2010 with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance and party to a crime, but the case has not moved forward.
Hall pointed to Boggs as the person who handed over the drug to Drew Currie, but Boggs moved out of state and has not been charged.
“I hope things that come out in the civil case will be helpful in the criminal case,” David Currie said. “We stand behind the facts and allegations in our lawsuit and we’re trusting in the Lord.”
A phone message left Monday at Georgia Therapy Associates for Terry and Frances Willis was not immediately returned.
Attorney Smith said he expects the case to reach further than the lawsuit.
“I got pretty outraged about what I saw about the goings on in this clinic,” Smith said. “I really don’t see how they could not expect something like this.”
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.