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Surfing for Scripts

When online pharmacies team up with disreputable doctors, the result could be fatal

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Now, it seems clear to Candy that her daughter had problems from an early age. After high school, she flitted from job to job. Office work. Beauty school. College. For a while, she'd perform well. But then the problems surfaced. "She never stayed with anything very long," Candy noted. "She just couldn't work, because she couldn't really get along with people."

Ryan was frustrated with his mom's issues. Candy would ask him to live with her or his uncle. But Ryan would never acquiesce. "He was always feeling responsible, you know. He just couldn't leave her by herself. She'd be all alone.

"I just think that life was very hard for them," Candy continued. "I just can't imagine what it's like, always being paranoid, always assuming people are talking about you."

Candy Kelly has sued Echols, Chapman, Qualitest (a manufacturer of amitriptyline), the Web site RX Medical Services Corporation, and EZ RX, the online pharmacy. Her attorney, Laura Kail, of Encinitas, CA, believes Candy doesn't expect to get money from Echols, but she thinks the suit will raise awareness. At the very least, she hopes, he won't be able to move and practice medicine in another state.

On October 20, 2004, the North Carolina medical board revoked Echols' license. After October 20, 2006, he could try to get it back.

The day Leisa and Ryan Kelly died, they each took 45 pills of the antidepressant amitriptyline. Describing what she thinks happened that day, Candy Kelly's impassioned voice quietened. "They went into Ryan's bedroom. They laid on the bed. They held hands. And they died."

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