Minnesota nurse admits to stealing painkillers for personal use

It is hard for many people in Minnesota to understand just how difficult it is to control a drug addiction. For some people, the overwhelming physical need is so great that they will throw caution to the wind and do something they might otherwise regret. With treatment, however, many of these individuals can get back to living their lives. Unfortunately, if they have gotten in trouble with the law, it may be difficult to move past an addiction, as they will also have to deal with criminal records and the publicity surrounding their former addictions.

This is the situation that one nurse has found himself in after he was arrested and charged with painkiller theft. The 17-year nurse had been working at St. Cloud Hospital after developing a powerful addiction to painkillers. Though it is likely that he did not want to steal pain medicine from the hospital, the addiction was likely too much for him. So, the 42-year-old man allegedly started to siphon off hydromorphone hydrochloride from the intravenous drop bags. In some cases, he would partially refill bags with saline solution.

The man is facing federal drug charges after he was apparently caught. Since then, he has gone through drug treatment and has overcome his addiction. In addition, he has given up his nursing license, meaning that he will not be surrounded by temptation. Many people in Minnesota would say that he has clearly shown his intent to change, but the federal government still will continue to prosecute.

The man and his attorney are hoping that the work that he has done since the hospital discovered what was going on will be enough to receive a light sentence.

Source: Star Tribune, “St. Cloud nurse charged with painkiller theft,” Paul Walsh, Sept. 6, 2012

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He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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