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Diversion of Controlled Substances Is Two Crimes: Theft and A Drug Charge

 Posted on August 01, 2016 in Criminal Defense

Diversion of Controlled Substances Is Two Crimes, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneysAll too frequently in the news the media reports on a nurse, pharmacist, or other hospital employee who steals controlled substances that are meant for patients. When this happens it is often referred to as diversion, or theft, of controlled substances, and it is a drug crime as well as a theft crime. Not only did the defendant steal the drugs, but if they are caught with the stolen drugs in their possession, they can be charged with possession of a controlled substance under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act.

Controlled substances are often stolen by healthcare workers who have an addiction. Their addiction drives them to take the drugs and to cover their tracks. Less frequently, a healthcare worker will be motivated to steal controlled substances from their place of employment by the potential of financial gains – by selling the controlled substances for a profit.

Controlled Substances that Are Often Involved in Diversion

When a person has access to an entire pharmacy, it is like having uninhibited access. Every type of drug is readily available; even the most highly regulated and controlled medications and drugs are there. The worker might report that the drugs were properly administered to a patient, or are included in a drug count, when, in fact, some of the drugs are missing.

Some controlled substances that are typically the subject of diversion, or theft by hospital or pharmacy employees, include, but are not limited to:

  • Painkillers, which include Vicodin, Percocet, Percodan, and Oxycontin;
  • Narcotics, which includes opioids, such as morphine, codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, and methadone;
  • Barbiturates, which include drugs like Valium and Librium; and
  • High-value or very costly drugs, such as expensive antiretroviral drugs, and performance enhancing drugs.

How Does The Theft Occur?

Diversion of drugs from healthcare facilities and pharmacies can take many forms. Sometimes workers will steal whole vials or pill packs. Some theft involves the removal of solution from a vial storage container and replacing the stolen solution with water. Other types of theft may involve swiping pills out of a patient’s pill vial, but reporting that all the pills were counted and are present. The theft could occur at a pharmacy, hospital, nursing home, senior care center, or any other healthcare facility that has access to controlled substances.

Do You Need Legal Representation?

Being addicted to controlled substances can be tough to live with. If you have been charged with theft or possession of controlled substance charges, you need to speak to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Let our skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys assist you. Reach out to us for more information on how we can be of help.


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