narcotic theft investigation

  1. I've been an RN just over 1 year now. A supervisor at the Rehab center where I work has just asked me to write a statement - I worked on a unit for a few hours the other night & apparently it was discovered someone was stealing Demerol. We routinely count narcotics when arriving on a unit & when leaving at the end of a shift. It seems someone has been replacing the demerol tabs with another similar-looking pill. I didn't notice a difference in pills at the times I counted narcotics (although they certainly could have been different). So, I did write a statement that I was working that unit at specific hours, on a specific date & that I counted narcotics with another nurse at the appropriate times.

    Afterward, my supervisor said there will be an investigation. Even though I've done nothing wrong, I still feel nervous about "the investigation". Did I do the right thing by writing a statement? Can anyone tell me what is involved in this type of investigation?
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   shannonRN
    i honestly don't have an answer for you. i do know that when i count narcotics, i don't investigate every pill in the bag marked demerol po....let us know how it turns out...
  4. by   JAYNE :DANCE:
    KEEP US UPDATED.......I HAVE NEVER HAD THIS HAPPEN TO ME.....BUT I CANNOT SEE WHY IT WOULD HURT YOU......AFTER ALL THEY WERE ONLY GETTING YOUR SIDE OF THE EVENING...SO PLEASE DO NOT WORRY... I KNOW EASIER SAID THAN DONE RIGHT.
  5. by   fedupnurse
    I wouldn't worry about it. We aren't supposed to know what they look like!! Imagine how long narc count would take then!!!
  6. by   jode
    This happened when I was house supervisor at a hospital in NY. Pretty much the same thing.....you may be asked to submit to a drug screen, and talk to the FDA people....but you should not be in any trouble yourself. They are just collecting data.
  7. by   duckie
    We had this situation where I worked. A bottle of 500 Vicodin came up missing. I was the one that discovered it and reported it. All nurses having worked that unit since it was known that the bottle was still there, were called to the police station, one by one, and gave a recorded statement. That was 2 years ago and nothing has come of it since but everyone had a very strong idea who took it and we are all upset that it was not investigated till the end. Unfortunately, the person we think that may have taken it has moved on so, I imagine this will go no further. Incidentally, not more drugs have disappeared. Don't get too shook up, just tell the truth and you'll be fine. Oh, one question they will ask during the taped interview is if you are willing to take a polygraph test, this is routine so don't get shook up. And if they ask you if you have any idea who you think may have done it, don't go pointing fingers, just say you really have no idea. Pointing fingers can be an indication that you are trying to take the blame away from you. When I was asked this question I simply said, I have some ideas but no proof and I will not point fingers because it is not my place. Try to relax if you are being interviewed by the police, place you hands in your lap, in a relaxed manner and just be honest and you'll be fine. Good luck!
  8. by   ChemoRN
    This exact thing happened to me, except it was Demerol IV. I wasted a lot of "demerol" with a certain nurse - only it was saline! You can't tell the difference!

    Nothing happened to me because of it, just a lot of data collection stuff. It made me nervous as heck though! :stone

    don't worry - if you didn't do anything wrong you have nothing to worry about.
  9. by   JailRN
    You'll be fine-I go through Internal Affairs investigations all of hte time, Just tell the truth, don't hold ANYTHING back, do not, repeat, not, lie, but like Duckie said, don't point fingers either.

    By the way, why aren't your drugs in unit dose packages?? That way, it would be difficult to replace narcotics with something else.

    Ususlly these investigations take SSSOOO long you can't recall what happened like you could if they investigated right away.

    And like Duckie also said, most of the time the perpitrator has left the job.
  10. by   oramar
    This must be happening everywhere. My brother just went through something similar where he works. I sense a huge increase in narcotic theft. Something that was once unusual becoming an everyday thing. Just another thing to make floor nurses a nervous wreck. If there is any weakness in the system the druggies and the dealers will sense it and exploit it.
  11. by   sunny1973
    This morning I went to work expecting to take a drug test. However, things were surprisingly quiet. The nursing director spoke with me at the beginning of my shift, explaning why she was asking for statements. I told her, "Honestly, I've always been concerned about the narcotics count & have never really studied the actual pills." She stated that all the other nurses have said the same thing & that this is a good lesson to learn early in one's career.

    Later in the morning, a co-worker said "federal investigators" were downstairs, but we never saw them. I noticed supervisors occasionally making an appearance to see if the med room door was locked & the narcotics were safely locked away. I'm sure there will be more to come.....

    JailRN, I'm with you- why aren't we using unit dose packages? Hopefully this event will promt the facility to modernize.

    I've been thinking about the serious implications of this case. It's not just about stealing, or using drugs. We may have been giving ineffective drugs (or God know what was in those tablets) to many patients. Patients may have suffered with unnecessary pain or worse, adverse drug reactions/interactions. It reminds me of the pharmacist who was recently found to be diluting chemotherapy treatments for extra cash.
  12. by   rebelwaclause
    Originally posted by sunny1973
    Did I do the right thing by writing a statement? Can anyone tell me what is involved in this type of investigation?
    Yes...It cya in the event someone may try something "fishy" to cover this up.

    Manangement should interview the nurses who worked that with you and prior to you taking responsibility of the narc keys. I take it your narcs are locked.... Right? (I've heard they aren't everywhere...They should be!) Who primarily had the key during your shift? Who where some of the nurses who where on duty before you? The switch couldv'e been made at anytime prior to your shift.

    Just continue doing your job top-notch. The perpetrator will eventually get caught!
  13. by   boggle
    A bottle of 500 vicodin? I am shocked. Whatever facility allowed that quantity of controlled substance out of the pharmacy is ASKING for TROUBLE. Why put nurses at such risk?

    What were they thinking? ? ?...that they would save a little time restocking the floors???

    Please put your foot down and insist that a smaller quantity of meds, and make then in unit dose too! It's not a matter of convenience, it's safety.
  14. by   sunnygirl272
    i agree with boggle!!!

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