INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A paramedic was charged with stealing the painkiller fentanyl from an ambulance and using the drug for herself.
The Marion County Prosecutors office filed charges this week against 30-year old Jeanan Joseph, accusing her of taking the controlled substance and tampering with drug vials to conceal the crime.
According to court documents, ambulance supply checks, which are required by law, revealed problems with the fentanyl supply inside a Pike Township Fire Department ambulance back in November.
An investigation identified the possible suspect as Joseph, who was employed by St. Vincent Hospital and Health Care Center, and was working as a paramedic at a Pike Township Fire Department on W. 86th St.
The EMS supervisor at St. Vincent shared the information with the Indianapolis office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which prompted a joint investigation with IMPD.
Court documents state Joseph admitted to stealing fentanyl from the ambulance.
“Joseph reported that she would normally administer a partial dose of fentanyl to the patient in need, and instead of properly disposing of the remaining as waste, she would use the fentanyl herself,” according to a probable cause affidavit.
One patient was described as a car accident patient at the intersection of W. 38th St. and Lafayette Rd. Another patient was described as a female patient from an apartment complex.
In all, investigators believe Joseph stole seven vials of fentanyl.
Court documents indicate Joseph also tampered with vials of fentanyl in an apparent effort to conceal the thefts.
Six stock vials of fentanyl that appeared to be tampered with were sent for laboratory testing. Four of the vials tested negative for fentanyl. Two other vials contained partial amounts of the drug.
“Joseph denied tampering with or replacing a controlled substance with saline,” the affidavit said.
Charges against Joseph include felony counts of Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud or Deceit and Possession of a Narcotic Drug. Joseph also faces a misdemeanor count of theft.
A warrant was issued for Joseph’s arrest on Wednesday.
St. Vincent released the following statement:
“While we cannot comment on matters under investigation, St. Vincent takes these matters seriously and will continue to cooperate with authorities. St. Vincent continues to be proactive and diligent with protocols, safeguards and reporting systems to keep track of medications and ensure their use is reserved for the patients that need them.”