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(Portland ) Former WCGH pharmacist pleads guilty to stealing painkillers – Government – VillageSoup

On one hand this makes me sad for the pharmacist, who will now lose his career, his livelihood and his standing in the community because he was so sick his need for drugs overtook any rational thought process about the ramifications.

On the other hand, if I was a patient who had been given a saline syringe when I need hydromorphone because of severe pain, I would be extremely angry at this man.

I can only hope this man gets the treatment he needs.  If this proves nothing else, it proves that no one is safe from addiction.

(Portland ) Former WCGH pharmacist pleads guilty to stealing painkillers – Government – VillageSoup.

Former WCGH pharmacist pleads guilty to stealing painkillers

PORTLAND (Jan 21): A Rockland man who pleaded guilty to three charges that he stole Hydromorphone from his employer, Waldo County General Hospital, and its pharmacy will serve 30 days in federal prison and a year of probation.

Granville L. Wilkins, 52, pleaded guilty to three counts of acquiring a controlled substance by deception at U.S. District Court in Portland before U.S. District Court Judge D. Brock Hornby.

Wilkins entered the plea Thursday, Jan. 8, through his attorneys, George T. Dilworth and Ronald W. Schneider Jr. Assistant U.S. Attorney James M. Moore prosecuted the case.

According to court documents, Wilkins committed the crimes on three occasions — Dec. 22, 2006, and March 24 and 25, 2007.

The charges against Wilkins stem from when he was employed as a pharmacist at WCGH in Belfast.

Judge Hornby sentenced Wilkins to 30 days in the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons, a sentence that begins Feb. 6. Wilkins must also serve one year of probation, during which time he will be subject to drug testing and must participate in a substance abuse therapy program. He also had to immediately pay a $5,300 fine.

According to court records, Wilkins removed prefilled syringes containing Hydromorphone — a derivative of morphine — from a locked cabinet containing pharmacy inventory and he ingested it.

In the latter two instances, Wilkins was caught on video surveillance tape replacing the drug with saline to prevent detection.

While records indicated Wilkins made no comments when he was informed March 26, 2007 of his termination from WCGH, he later admitted while speaking with a state investigator to improperly acquiring the drug.

“Through acquiring Hydromorphone by deception as a pharmacist, the defendant made his craving for narcotics a greater priority than the trust placed in him by patients,” read the sentencing memorandum.

“The defendant’s careful cutting of seals on boxes and his making of only small pinholes not only concealed his theft of drugs but also increased the likelihood that a patient in pain would not receive the relief that he or she needed.”

Two members of the pharmacy staff, including the supervising pharmacist, estimated “a very high likelihood” that a patient could have received a tampered syringe, which added concern about dosing errors and pain and suffering of the patients for which the medicine was intended.

Records filed with the State of Maine Board of Pharmacy show Wilkins’ professional license has been suspended since April 2007.

The license suspension was the result of a consent agreement finalized in June 2007 between Wilkins and the board. An adjudication hearing to determine what additional licensure penalties Wilkins will face was set to be scheduled after the criminal matter was resolved.

“On April 3, 2007, following a presentation of the complaint, the Board found that licensure of Mr. Wilkins as a pharmacist placed the health and physical safety of the public in immediate jeopardy and that waiting for a full hearing to adjudicate the matter would fail to adequately respond to this known risk,” stated the consent agreement.

This was not the first time Wilkins agreed to take a license suspension.

In October 1990, state Board of Pharmacy records indicated Wilkins entered a consent agreement in which he admitted to diverting Ritalin and Cylert from Mercy Hospital in Portland and abusing those drugs for about a year.

Ritalin is a stimulant commonly prescribed for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Cylert is also used to treat ADHD.

In that instance, Wilkins agreed to a three-month license suspension with the ability to reinstate it under conditions that included abstaining from “mood or mind-altering substances, whether licit or illicit; and all drugs which are dispensed to or prescribed for him by anyone other than a treating physician knowledgeable of his history of substance abuse.”

Wilkins was also required to participate in a substance abuse monitoring program until April 1, 1993.

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