An eastern Kentucky man has been sentenced to life in prison for the overdose death of a woman.
It's the first time in Kentucky that a life sentence was imposed in an overdose death involving prescription drugs.
Fifty-five-year-old Terry Smith, of Manchester, was accused of giving oxycodone pills to Patty Smallwood in 2011. She went to sleep and never woke up. A toxicology report following her death showed four times the therapeutic level of the painkiller in her system.
U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey said the sentence should send a message to prescription drug dealers.
"They are not only putting the lives of their customers or victims at risk, but they're putting their own freedom at risk," Harvey told WKU Public Radio.
Smith ran a large-scale drug trafficking ring in eastern Kentucky. He would recruit addicts to travel to out-of-state pill mills to obtain prescriptions painkillers. The individual then gave the pills to Smith, who kept a portion for himself and divided the rest among the people who made the trip.
Because of Smith's criminal history, he received a mandatory life sentence under federal law.