Doctors, nurses, and other nursing home staff are more often being caught and charged with prescription medication theft and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. The most appealing of all include opioids, powerful medications prescribed by physicians for nursing home residents with moderate to severe pain, and those suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Residents who are taking opioids are also more commonly prescribed pain adjuvants and other addictive or ‘street profitable’ medications that are likely to be stolen by staff. These may include controlled substances such as Benzodiazepines. Many nursing home residents receive Benzodiazepines to treat anxiety, seizures, panic disorders, depression, muscle relaxation, and insomnia. These drugs are also frequently stolen or abused by nursing home staff members.
Some of the most common opioids and Benzodiazepines that are frequently stolen from residents include:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride (Librium)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Codeine (only available in generic form)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Estazolam (ProSom)
- Fentanyl (Abstral, Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Onsolis)
- Hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
- Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
- Morphine (Kadian, MS Contin, Morphabond)
- Oxycodone (Oxaydo, OxyContin)
- Oxycodone and Acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet)
- Oxycodone and Naloxone
- Oxymorphone (Opana)
- Triazolam (Halcion)
The drugs most commonly stolen by staff are oxycodone and fentanyl, both of which are incredibly addictive opioids that are frequently abused. The mismanagement of any medication by care staff, including theft or drug fraud, may be a form of nursing home abuse or neglect.
It’s Nursing Home Residents Who Suffer the Most from Medication Theft
Theft may deprive residents of the drugs needed to control painful conditions and allow them to suffer through the discomfort. And when a patient misses a dose, they will react poorly, become irritable, and some may even be capable of harming themselves or others. Worse, if a sudden series of doses is missed, unmanaged withdrawal can turn fatal in some circumstances. 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.
Amid the growing opioid crisis across several U.S. states, nursing homes should practice strong anti-theft measures to ensure medications won’t be accessed by the wrong hands.
If You Suspect Medication Theft, Talk with a Lawyer Today
If someone you love has had their prescription drugs stolen and has been injured or neglected as a result, please contact the Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Levin & Perconti. Let us help you and your loved one get the justice you deserve. Call us now at (312) 332-2872 for a free consultation with one of our nursing home abuse attorneys.