A woman who nearly killed her 16-year-old friend by injecting her with opioids will serve six years in prison.
Superior Court judge Peter Cahill sentenced Jordan Irene Fowler, 22, earlier this month to an aggravated term after Fowler admitted her actions had caused her friend substantial physical and emotional harm.
The teen’s mother, Melissa Cochran, told the Roundup that her daughter nearly died from the injections. Cochran found her daughter slumped on their bathroom floor, unresponsive and blue last fall. At the hospital, Cochran said she heard doctors yell “code blue” twice, generally used to indicate a patient needs resuscitation. She said it is a miracle her daughter survived the overdose.
Fowler had injected the teen with a near lethal combination of Dilaudid and Percocet, court records show.
The abuse of such prescription painkillers has exploded in recent years, according to national studies. Prescription drugs — especially narcotics — kill an estimated 20,000 people annually. That’s one every 19 minutes. The rise in deaths due to overdoses mirrors a dramatic rise in prescriptions for the narcotic painkillers. For instance, the distribution of morphine increased 600 percent from 1997 to 2007, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Doctors now prescribe enough of the painkillers to give every person in the United States a pill once every four hours for three weeks.
Abuse of the painkillers nearly ended in tragedy here in Payson. The friends had been hanging out the night of Sept. 1 at Fowler’s grandmother’s home in Star Valley. Fowler reportedly stole some of her mother’s Percocet, melted it down and injected it into the teen and herself. The teen told officers she had willfully allowed Fowler to inject her the first time, but then told her to stop when she approached with another hit. However, Fowler injected the teen again with Percocet and then Dilaudid, both opioids.
When the teen went home, she passed out in the bathroom. When Cochran found her later, she tried throwing water on her and performing CPR, but could not resuscitate her.
She rushed the girl to the hospital and doctors worked feverishly to revive her.
Police later learned Fowler had stolen the pills from her mother.
When they searched Fowler’s home, police found uncapped needles in Fowler’s room.
Fowler told officers she was aware her friend had thrown up after the injections, but didn’t know she had overdosed.
Fowler told the court she had accepted responsibility for her actions.
“I know I made the wrong choices and I am suffering with the consequences since Sept. 6, 2012,” she wrote the court. “I know I’ve disappointed my family and friends who love me, and they’re suffering too.”
Cochran asked the court to hold Fowler accountable for her actions.
Cochran told probation that her daughter has made a full recovery and is in counseling, employed and attending school.
“Grateful her daughter is healthy and healing from this ordeal, Ms. Cochran spoke of not only the emotional harm this caused her family, but the emotional and physical trauma inflicted upon her daughter,” probation wrote in a presentencing report.
Fowler told a probation officer that she had used marijuana, meth and narcotics for several years. She acknowledged she had a severe addiction to prescription pills.
Even after her arrest, Fowler could not shake her drug habit, records show. Fowler tested positive for drugs and detention staff found marijuana and unidentified pills in her cell.