A nurse in England has been suspended for six months after stealing a box of paracetamol for her sick husband. The woman was working at Grimsby's Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in August 2018 when she visited the controlled drugs storage room while on leave and without permission. The Nursing and Midwifery Council found her guilty of misconduct and handed down a six-month suspension. Reports indicate that the nurse is “truly sorry” for her actions.
For those unfamiliar with the UK drug paracetamol, the over-the-counter pain medication is akin to ibuprofen or acetaminophen. While stealing from work is never a good idea, many believe the punishment in this case doesn't fit the crime. Thankfully, the council took into account that this was a one-off incident that occurred during an unprecedented amount of stress. Still, this nurse will likely carry the weight of her professional mistakes around for the rest of her career.
What Is Drug Diversion?
In the United States, the term drug diversion is used to describe the illegal distribution or abuse of prescription drugs. Healthcare workers sometimes divert drugs for monetary gain, self-medication, recreational purposes, or to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. It may involve prescription pad theft and forgery, illicit prescribing, or outright theft. In some cases, drug diversion happens by mistake. Pill dispensing machines aim to make the process of fulfilling prescriptions easier, but when they make errors, healthcare professionals often shoulder the blame.
As seen from the news story mentioned above, drug diversion allegations are incredibly serious. In many instances, they lead to state and/or federal criminal charges. Complaints and accusations can be made by patients, colleagues, friends, relatives, or anyone who knows the healthcare worker in question. Upon receiving word of the allegations, the state licensing board typically launches an investigation. Should they find evidence of drug diversion, the consequences can be far-reaching. Loss of license, fines, and jail time may all be on the table.
Facing Allegations of Drug Diversion? We Can Help
Learning you're the subject of an investigation for a violation relating to your medical license can be frightening. With your license and criminal charges on the line, it's important to take swift action. These kinds of allegations can be career-ending for medical professionals. If you've been accused of diverting drugs or are under investigation, it's imperative you reach out to a compassionate professional license defense attorney as soon as possible.
An attorney can review the allegations against you and investigate the facts of your case. By putting together a thoughtful strategy to protect your rights during a board and/or criminal investigation, you stand the best chance of maintaining your license and good standing.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help nurses in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey defend their good names. With so much on the line, going it alone simply isn't an option. Don't leave your future at risk – call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn more.