An 80-mg tablet of oxycodone (oxycontin or oxy), a prescription medication used to treat chronic pain, can be sold on the streets of Juneau for more than $200. That is what Justin Brokken was charging when he unknowingly sold the drug to a Juneau Police Department informant on March 30.
"He was a walking drugstore," Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp said in Juneau Superior Court on Dec. 17 at Brokken's sentencing.
Kemp read from a police report that showed Brokken called the informant to be picked up near Greening Park. He was then driven to Walmart, where he got into a white van and it drove within the parking lot to a blue Subaru. Hands then came through the car window as drugs and money were exchanged. One-half of two 40-mg tablets and one 60-mg tablet for $290.
Brokken was then driven to Frontier Suites to pick up heroin.
When he was arrested, the heroin he sold tested negative, according to Kemp.
"He sold fake drugs to support his oxycontin habit," she said.
Brokken also had 80-mg tablets in his possession.
Kemp expressed community safety concerns, and not just for non-drug users.
Defense attorney Natasha Norris said there was no argument about the facts and there was no doubt it was a serious situation.
"When he was functioning and not wrapped up in this situation, he was able to hold down a job," Norris said.
Brokken apologized to his family - the only two people sitting in the audience.
"Thank you for staying with me through this situation and continuing to help me with treatments in the future," Brokken said.
Judge Philip Pallenberg stated that what you don't read in a case is the toll drugs take on the community.
"At 80-mg for $200," Pallenberg said, "obviously there are people who don't have that kind of money and find it from stealing or dealing to support their habit ..."
Pallenberg went on to mention the thefts, forgeries, divorce cases in civil court, and violence and sales in criminal court all stemming from oxy use.
"It really does eat at the fabric of the community. And the predominant drug is oxy, and it is clear from where I sit that it is a tough addiction to combat," he said.
Pallenberg stated that Brokken will need to change his associates and his activities.
"Your whole life will have to change," Pallenberg said. "You can wear out the people around you."
Pharmacist Scott Watts of Ron's Apothecary stated 80-mg of oxy is the highest level available in the United States and should not be a first prescription for oxycodone.
In discussions with other pharmacists, Watts found shared concerns that 80-mg tablets are being diverted into the school system through the illegal sale or theft of prescriptions.
Watts estimated that his business accounts for 15 percent of prescription sales in Juneau, while bigger chains such as Walmart and Fred Meyer are closer to 40 percent. Watts said he typically fills an 80-mg prescription about five times a year, whereas 10-mg, 20-mg and 40-mg prescriptions average about 5-7 per month.
Brokken was sentenced for attempting to sell a controlled substance, a Class B felony, given five-and-a-half years with three suspended and two to serve.
Brokken's girlfriend is currently five months pregnant with his child. When Brokken is released, his child will be 2 years old. His father, Barry Brokken, who owns a local construction company, will have a job for him.
"Not everyone has that opportunity," his father said. "He is going to be a felon when he gets out. Not everyone will hire a felon. If you suspect your kid is using, then get them help. We tried. We took him to a counselor who called this exact scenario perfectly. The police are doing what they can, but it is going to take the community."
Contact Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.