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Federal prosecutors target Washington nurse

In November 2013, federal prosecutors alleged that a 35-year-old registered nurse stole painkillers from multiple local clinics in an attempt to fuel her own drug addiction. A Drug Enforcement Administration agent said that the woman replaced the painkillers with other substances and that, in one particular instance, her actions caused a severe stimulant reaction in a patient who had just been prepped for surgery.

The court heard that the nurse, who faces federal drug charges, had initially been fired from one clinic for stealing medication and refusing confidential substance abuse treatment but that she found employment at another local healthcare facility a short while later. She was also accused of forging multiple prescriptions in order to obtain painkillers.

Reports said that the woman admitted her thefts and addiction to a Washington state investigator. The DEA agent claimed that she had been fired from three clinics in total since initially being licensed as a registered nurse in July 2012.

Criminal charges can make things difficult for accused individuals who already face tough life circumstances. When these individuals are battling addictions, health issues or debts, they may find that being charged or sentenced impedes their ability to overcome the preexisting negative factors in their lives. For those whose alleged crimes relate to their professions, being charged could even place their future careers in jeopardy. Criminal defense attorneys may be able to guide the accused through complicated trial proceedings, contest charges or argue for allowances like the reduction or cancellation of bail sums.

Source: KOMO, "Feds charge nurse with dangerous drug theft", Levi Pilkkinen, November 13, 2013

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