Ohio doctors convicted of morphine possession

January 23, 1997


Staff Writer

Despite the contentions of two Ohio doctors that carrying 100-plus doses of morphine in their family van was routine, a Washington County District Court judge didn't agree on Thursday.

Judge Noel Spence found Dr. Arlene Marie Basedow, 42, and Dr. William Kent Basedow, 44, of Ironton, Ohio, guilty of one count each of possession of morphine.

The maximum penalty is four years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine on each count.

Arlene Basedow also was found guilty of possession of drug paraphernalia, a used syringe found in her purse. She could face an additional $500 fine for that offense.


Sentencing was delayed until a pre-sentence investigation is completed.

The couple was traveling through Maryland on April 6, 1996, when their 1988 Ford van crashed on eastbound Interstate 70 east of Md. 68 at Clear Spring.

Arlene Basedow was driving and her husband was in the passenger seat, according to Maryland State Police. They and their five children, ranging in age from 3 to 12, escaped serious injury when the van ran off the road and overturned in the median.

When medical personnel and police arrived on the scene, William Basedow advised them that he and his wife were doctors and that there were narcotics in the van.

Trooper 1st Class Tony Bequette's police report indicated he found four 20-milliliter vials of morphine sulfate; 19 vials of Nalbuphine, 10 unopened syringes, several bottles of Anexsia, 99 secobarbital tablets and other assorted narcotics.

In addition, troopers said they found two vials in Arlene Basedow's purse - one each of morphine and Nalbuphine. Two used syringes were also found in her purse, according to testimony.

"My husband treats me occasionally for migraine headaches - both with morphine and Nalbuphine - and has since 1985,'' said Arlene Basedow.

She said she had an injection of each drug on April 4, two days before the accident.

Under questioning by Assistant State's Attorney Joe Michael, she agreed it is against standard medical practice to prescribe narcotics to oneself or a close relative.

"But I disagree on an emergency basis," Arlene Basedow said.

Both Basedows testified they have licenses from the Drug Enforcement Administration to possess narcotics.

Michael said that the DEA license limits that possession to a single location, such as the Basedow's Ironton home.

"We usually take medications with us when we travel in case we need to treat family or friends back East," said William Basedow.

That is a violation of the DEA license restrictions and standard medical practices, Michael said.

Defense attorney Gil Cochran argued that the Basedows were being responsible by not leaving the narcotics in their Ohio home while they were traveling.

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