INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 29, 2014)– Fentanyl is a powerful pain medication which is typically delivered by a patch that is applied directly to the skin of a patient in a time-release fashion.
And eight of those patches prescribed to four patients are missing at the Genesis Health Center at the Decatur Township Care Center.
IMPD was advised by the center’s director that the patches have gone missing in the last month.
“There is no suspect information at this time, but the director believes that someone is stealing the patches.”
The center is a secured facility that is most often accessible only to patients and staff.
Investigators and a former drug user told Fox59 News that the patches are often stolen, sold and abused by pain killer addicts.
“I watched a guy take one off a person on a July day. A pain patch. Took it, pulled it off and put it right into his mouth and chewed on that thing for four hours,” said Jeff Kidd who has been clean and sober for 17 years. “Chewed it until it was gone. Every bit of it. I wanted to throw up but I watched him do it.”
In 2013 the Marion County Coroner reported 215 accidental fatal drug overdoses. Opiates were present in 167 of the case, heroin in 110.
“It shows that this is a growing problem and we have to deal with opioids in general, not just the heroin but the prescription medications, also,” said IMPD Capt. Dave Allender.
Indiana’s fatal prescription drug overdose rate has quadrupled over the last decade.
In 1999 the rate was 3.2 fatal overdoses per 100,000 Hoosiers, according to the Trust for America’s Health. In 2010 the statistic jumped to 14.4 per 100,000.
“You cannot beat the opiate addiction,” said Kidd. “You cannot recover from the opiate addiction. You have to learn to control the opiate addiction.”
Kidd, who lost two relatives to methadone overdoses, said he was pleased that state lawmakers passed legislation to reduce the amount of methadone dispensed to heroin addicts from a 14-day supply to a seven-day supply.
He is hopeful the General Assembly will pass a bill to require addicts to ingest their doses on site at the clinic to avoid abuse and the resale of methadone to other users.
“We get complaints on that on a regular basis,” said Allender. “People will get their medicines legally and they will sell them on the street.”
“They buy methadone today to get high. Tomorrow they can’t find no more methadone so they buy a Xanax. Take the Xanax. That Xanax kicks the methadone back into full strength and they stop breathing.”
Jeanne Moore, Spokesperson for Decatur Township Center provided the following statement:
“Decatur Township Center staff documented that multiple medication patches were missing over the past several weeks. In every case, our staff conducted a thorough examination of the patient involved. No patient was adversely affected by the missing medication patch. We take any missing medication very seriously and immediately launched our own internal investigation. In addition, we informed the local police department. Our investigation is currently underway and we will work closely with the police if it is determined that a theft occurred.”