HAMILTON, Mont. — A western Montana jury is deliberating the case of a doctor charged with overprescribing opiates, leading to the overdose deaths of two patients.

Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright told jurors that Chris Christensen overprescribed opiates and other drugs in dangerous combinations and should have known his prescribing practices could lead to deaths because five of his patients in Idaho died in the 1990s.

The Ravalli Republic reports defense attorney Josh Van de Wetering argued Thursday that the case against Christensen was a “smear job” equating him with drug dealers rather than as a compassionate physician to prescribed drugs to ease patients’ suffering.

Christensen is charged with two counts of negligent homicide in the deaths of Greg Griffin and Kara Philbrick-Lenker along with nine counts of criminal endangerment and 11 counts of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs.

Information from: Ravalli Republic , http://www.ravallirepublic.com

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