A brief postscript to N>K>N>?>E

There is one part of the puzzle that should be addressed beyond the question of who was the conduit for drugs between Nichopoulos and Elvis. Below is a brief comment outlining this issue:

On the morning of 8/16/77, it is reported that Ginger Alden was suffering some sort of pain (the source of the pain is irrelevant), and that Elvis contacted Nurse Henley about getting Ginger some pain medication. Without going through the who, what, where, and when, and the layers of legal and ethical questions, let’s keep it simple: Henley provided a Quaalude pill for Ginger which was delivered upstairs to Elvis’s bedroom. From all accounts, Ginger ingested this drug, presumably at Elvis’s direction. Quaalude was a Schedule II drug in 1977, but is a Schedule I drug now (as of 1984), meaning it is no longer prescribed in the U.S.

Quaalude was used to induce a euphoric state, deep relaxation, and sleep. Quaalude was not a pain medication. (Didn’t Nurse Henley know this?)

Here is where several key questions come up:

If Elvis asked for a Quaalude pill for Ginger’s pain, did he call Dr. Nichopoulos, or Nurse Henley? If he called Nurse Henley, what authority did she have to provide the pill to Ginger? Was Ginger a patient of Dr. Nichopoulos? Maybe she was under that tour umbrella of “Dr. Nick takes care of everyone,” but was he Ginger’s doctor in Memphis?

If Elvis simply asked for pain medication, without being specific, who opted for Quaalude?

When Ginger complained of pain, was she examined by a doctor?

When Ginger complained of pain, did the doctor or the nurse confirm that she was experiencing pain? Who knows, but if there was no examination, it is doubtful anything was done to confirm the complaint.

Where was Nurse Henley when this pain medication was requested and provided? If she was already at work, did she consult with Dr. Nichopoulos? If she was still in the Henley trailer, did she consult with Nichopoulos by phone?

And here is the critical issue: When Nichopoulos or Henley authorized a Quaalude pill to be delivered to Ginger Alden for pain, where did the pill come from? Was there a prescription bottle in the “overnight bag” in the Henley trailer with Ginger’s name on it? Of course not. So obviously the pill came from the drugs that were stored in this bag. And whose prescriptions were those? They were Elvis’s. From what has been reported about that morning, Nurse Henley (or someone at her direction) went to the stash of drugs that found its way into the “overnight bag” via the prescriptions written to/for Elvis, and from that stash she took one pill and provided it to Ginger. There was no prescription for Ginger. The Quaalude pill was provided to Elvis, via prescription, under his name.

Does everyone see how serious this was?

Please re-read the Quaalude label above: “Federal law prohibits dispensing without a prescription.”

Again: Nurse Henley took a pill from Elvis’s prescription and gave it to Ginger.

Does anyone know what that is called?

Going one step further, what if Ginger had suffered a strong adverse reaction to the Quaalude pill and required medical attention? Imagine this exchange with a doctor at a hospital that morning:

Doctor: Do you have a prescription for this medication?

Ginger: No.

Doctor: Where did you get it?

Ginger: From a nurse.

Doctor: Did she examine you?

Ginger: No.

Doctor: Did your doctor examine you?

Ginger: No.

Doctor: And there was no prescription?

Ginger: It was prescribed to someone else.

Doctor: So the nurse took a Quaalude pill from someone else’s prescription and gave it to you?

Ginger: Yes.

Doctor: Where were these drugs kept?

Ginger: In an overnight bag in her trailer.

Doctor: Excuse me, I need to make a call.

No examination. No prescription. No evidence that Nichopoulos was Ginger’s doctor. Schedule II drugs stored in an overnight bag “under lock and key” in a trailer. The nurse taking drugs from Elvis’s prescription to give to someone else.

Again, does everyone see how serious this was, and still is?

For reference re: Schedule I and Schedule II drugs (note that methaqualone [Quaalude] is now Schedule I):