Stealing From Patients to Feed Their Addiction

Drug thefts are on the rise in medical facilities and the culprits are the professionals themselves.

A recent article details a report released by the state’s Department of Health that shows more than a 300 percent increase in the number of drug thefts from hospitals and healthcare facilities in four years.

The thefts in Minnesota were attributed to employees stealing drugs from their patients, primarily pain killers. Drug diversion resulted in their patients doing without the much needed pain relievers.

While pain pill thefts are on the rise, so is the number of prescriptions that have been written as well, including those for pain and stimulants. Medical facilities have been forced to crackdown on these types of crimes in hospitals as well as improve their oversight practices to prevent them from happening in the first place.

With the availability to these types of drugs, both to those who need them and those who abuse them, it is concerning that there appears to be no end in sight to abuse of prescription pain pills.

So what happens to a medical professional who is stealing drugs from his or her patients’ to feed their own addiction? Are they fired on the spot or offered treatment? Should they ever be allowed to return to a job where they have access to medications of this sort?

All these questions are relevant in this time of an increasing problem with prescriptions.

One thought is that if the employee completes the proper treatment and have proven that they no longer have a problem, then they should be allowed to return to a job in any healthcare facility.

But are you only setting them up for the possibility of failure again? Would you allow a person who has been a heroin addict return to the same circle of friends who helped them get hooked on the drug in the first place?

It would seem that to answer these concerns, it would have to depend on the person or an entirely new system of protection in place to allow them to return to the medical world, but not have access to a potential problem.