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Nursing Home Opioid Theft

nursing home opioids

Wisconsin Nurse Charged for Stealing Opioids from Three Nursing Homes

News of a Wisconsin nurse charged with stealing medication from three nursing homes is unfortunately too common of a read these days. According to the Feb. 2019 criminal complaint, the 36-year-old nurse was charged with four counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and two counts of misdemeanor theft while being employed by Atrium Health Care in Chippewa County. The charges came after another employee contacted local police alerting them that a worker at a nursing home had her name forged in a book that tracks narcotic counts. The book showed Oxycodone had been signed out 11 times with conflicting signatures.

The thief, who was also a trusted nurse, was soon identified and later admitted to taking Opioids and prescription pills, including Vicodin, Oxycodone and Lorazepam, and others from two nursing homes she worked at as well. Opioid drugs are commonly prescribed by physicians for nursing home residents with moderate to severe pain and those in serious, life-threatening illness and can include:

  • Codeine (only available in generic form)
  • Fentanyl (Abstral, Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Onsolis)
  • Hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
  • Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Morphabond)
  • Oxycodone (Oxaydo, OxyContin)
  • Oxycodone and Acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet)
  • Oxycodone and Naloxone

The mismanagement of an opioid medication may be a form of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Nursing Home Patients Suffer from Medication Theft

Medication theft may deprive patients of the drugs needed to control painful conditions. But when these powerful prescription drugs are mishandled or stolen, patients may be left to suffer through the discomfort. Ensure your loved one’s nursing home follows these security measures against drug theft or medication mismanagement.

  • Medications are stored in a room that locks and is without windows.
  • Access to the medication carts and lockers is limited to a key in the administration office, rather than the nurses’ station.
  • Security cameras are located near medication carts, prescription storage lockers, and in hallways.
  • A protocol is in place where two different employees count the supply at the end of the day, not just one.
  • Ask your loved one if they are in pain or have noticed any changes in the way their pain or other medications are being managed.

Medications going missing and being stolen from residents at nursing homes is certainly nothing new. And as our country’s opioid crisis increasingly grows out of control, the fact that such powerful medications can so easily fall into the wrong hands, sometimes leaving suffering and ill patients without, should be more than alarming.

If You Suspect Medication Theft, Talk with a Lawyer Today

At Levin & Perconti, we recognize the need to hold people who ultimately violate the law, rules, or regulations accountable with regard to the care and treatment of patients or residents in their charge. We frequently have families and nursing home staff contacting our attorneys to share concerns and seek guidance.

Consultations with our attorneys are both free and confidential. Please call us at (312) 332-2872 or complete our free online consultation request form.