Love is strong, perhaps the strongest emotion we can possibly feel. People live and people die for love. Addiction is also strong – and another thing people both live and die for. Love is good, addiction is bad. When you combine the two, disaster can occur.
The recent arrest of Bonnie Duffy, a 53-year-old licensed practical nurse at Pennsylvania’s Carbondale Nursing and Rehabilitation Center proves it.
Wait, what did she do?
Over the course of 185 days, Duffy stole the opiates Vicodin, oxycodone and morphine, as well as the anti-anxiety medication Xanax, by means of forging nineteen other employee’s signatures in the facility’s drug sign-out log. She accomplished this 287 times. To make matters worse, Duffy occasionally obtained the keys to the medication cart by offering assistance to other nurses. She would pillage.
All of the drugs were for an unnamed relative, as told by Duffy herself to the arresting officer. It turns out she wasn’t lying. She was tested for drugs and came up completely clean.
On July 2nd, another nurse at the facility, Tiffany Kilmer, saw her own signature in the drug sign-out log, except she hadn’t signed it that day. Kilmer reported this to the nurse manager, who in turn called Duffy. She admitted to forging the signatures right away, and the police were called the next day.
Bonnie Duffy was arrested on August 4, 2016 on six separate charges: obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or misrepresentation, forgery, records tampering, theft, receiving stolen property and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Duffy’s preliminary hearing is planned to occur by the end of the month.
Unfortunately she is not alone.
This is not the first time this ever happened. A doctor in Indiana currently faces a multitude of charges for stealing opiates and even conducting seven medical procedures while intoxicated on them. Three employees of three separate medical facilities were arrested for stealing opiates last year in Missouri alone! A 71-year-old doctor at UConn Health faces a felony charge of larceny for stealing meds from his own workplace.
This is apparently a quiet epidemic. A simple internet search reveals plenty of other cases similar to these. Employee theft in general is the single highest cause of shrink (loss without purchase) for companies nationwide. Three out of four people have stolen from their workplace at least once.
Because we are currently in the midst of an opioid epidemic, employee theft in hospitals and doctors’ offices truly needs to be eradicated. One could imagine a nurse stealing 30 hydrocodone, giving them to a friend, that friend putting them in his medicine cabinet, and his 12-year-old son finding them, ingesting them, and dying of an overdose. That’s just a made up example that represents what could happen. For a real life example, consider the 1-year-old who died of a heroin overdose last year.
Things are out of hand already. We don’t need another means of drugs getting into the wrong hands. If you or someone you know works in the healthcare industry and is aware of coworkers stealing medication, or is stealing it him or herself, report that person immediately.