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Man's family sues doctors after fatal overdose

McKEESPORT, Pa. — The family of a McKeesport man is suing his doctors, claiming that they repeatedly gave him prescription painkillers despite knowing about his addiction.

Nicholas Classic died in October 2015 after overdosing on prescription drugs. He was 29.



According to a wrongful death lawsuit filed Tuesday in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, doctors at a McKeesport clinic prescribed Classic painkillers in March 2013 after an MRI showed a mild bulged disk in his back.

Classic continued to receive pain medication for two years before the doctor wrote a note saying, in part:

"Patient in the past few weeks has demonstrated overuse, urgency in wanting to obtain further quantity when overtaken and has called this office several times insistent on knowing when his medications would be prescribed."

Family members said Classic had a near fatal overdose less than a month later, but found other doctors to prescribe painkillers to him. The lawsuit alleges this patter continued until his fatal overdose in October 2015.

The lawsuit was filed by Classic's mother. Seven doctors and counselors are named as defendants.

"She had been waging an almost one-woman crusade to get these doctors to stop prescribing to her son," said Alan Perer, the Classic family's attorney. "She failed in her attempts to prevent this from happening to her son. She would like to see the system improve."

Channel 11 reached out to the seven doctors and counselors named in the lawsuit. All either declined to comment or did not return phone calls.

The prescription drug monitoring program was not implemented until several months after Classic's death. The program requires doctors to put patients getting prescription drugs into a shared system to prevent "doctor shopping."