Those of you who have followed this column over the years know that I have a special interest in the diversion of controlled substances within healthcare facilities. It started back in 1990 when I formed the Cincinnati Police Department’s Pharmaceutical Diversion Squad. We quickly learned that in addition to doctor shoppers, bad prescriptions, and other scams, a real problem existed in our hospitals and long term care nursing facilities with drug diversion. [Read more…]
A nurse at a Waseca nursing home is alleged to have stolen prescription pain medications while at work and replaced the pills with other drugs.
Mary Ann VanVeldhuizen, 31, of Waseca, was charged Dec. 31 with third-degree possession of narcotics, felony theft and criminal neglect, after telling Waseca Police investigators that she took prescription painkillers from bubble packs and refilled them with other medications. [Read more…]
I have been in law enforcement for almost 48 years, a portion of which—especially the past 25 years—has been primarily devoted to fighting illegal drug trafficking. I include prescription drugs in this work because when they are diverted, they essentially become illegal drugs.
The prescription drug work is somewhat different than combating the distribution of common street drugs, because with the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs, there are 2 victims. Collateral damage is widespread regarding all illegal drugs, but with prescription drugs, there is another victim: legitimate patients with pain. These victims basically stay hidden in our society, mostly because they are physically and financially unable to protest, and have little ability to organize with a united voice. Severe pain mandates paying undivided attention to these victims. [Read more…]
Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team (CNT) conducted an undercover operation that led to a local nurse in custody on felony charges.
According to a news release by Gene Harley, CNT arrested 54-year-old James Elliot Cooke of Savannah a registered nurse, employed with the St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital, after a two weeks of undercover agents buying pills from Cooke. [Read more…]
This is the second installment in a 2-part series on robberies at retail pharmacies, likely the most anxious moments any store can experience. Previously, I mentioned some prevention measures you can take, many of them involving surveillance cameras that actually work. However, pharmacy employees need to do everything they can to identify suspects.
Do your best to notice specifics about the person that is pointing a gun at you. I know this does not sound easy, and it isn’t, but it can be crucial to law enforcement finding the subject or you identifying him or her. Height and approximate weight or build should come to your mind first, with one of those inside-thepharmacy height tapes coming in handy at times like this. Although hair type and color, as well as clothes, can be changed after a robbery, they are great details to give to the responding officers. The perpetrator’s race and distinguishing features (eg, scars, very large nose) cannot be changed and are important if the subject is not caught within a short time after the crime. [Read more…]