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Prison for Nurse Who Stole Pain Pills from Critically Ill Patients

Prison for Nurse Who Stole Pain Pills from Critically Ill Patients

Paul Walsh, Star Tribune

July 29, 2009

A registered nurse has been sentenced to federal prison for stealing potent pain pills intended for patients and taking them to feed her own addiction.

Julie C. Fronk, 40, of Coon Rapids, was sentenced in Minneapolis to one year in prison Monday, about four months after pleading guilty to obtaining by fraud a controlled substance — in this case, Vicodin — while working at a home health care agency.

According to the plea agreement, she admitted that from May 2008 through July 2008, she obtained the Vicodin after the pills had been prescribed to others.

Fronk was assistant director of nursing for the health care service and was stealing the medication meant for critically ill patients, Minneapolis police said.

More Scandalous News

“Addiction to pain medication is a growing concern in drug law enforcement,” said Gary G. Olenkiewicz, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago field division, which covers Minnesota. “The public depends on the integrity of the medical community when they receive prescribed medications. It is unfortunate that Ms. Fronk abused her position as a medical professional by stealing pain medication prescribed for patients and used it for her own personal use.”

In a presentencing court filing on July 16, Assistant U.S. Attorney Erika R. Mozangue noted Fronk’s “history of substance abuse involving alcohol, prescription medications as well as illegal substances.”

Mozangue, in that same filing, described the patients who were denied their medication as elderly and “in a particular susceptible state due to their age and medical needs.”

© YellowBrix 2009


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    btallent

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    There are programs for nurses who have become addicted and need treatment. She was wrong and hurt many people in the process..but, prison will not help her..she needs treatment..Bev RN

  • 5-14-09_paula_in_chair_cropped_max50

    Paula_Davies_Scimeca

    about 5 years ago

    6 comments

    Accounts such as this are deeply disturbing on several levels. Nurses strive to keep the public safe, yet our lifetime incidence of acquiring a problem with prescription medications is much greater than those working outside of healthcare. Throughout the U.S>, thousands of nurses surrender their license to practice each year due to an issue with drugs or alcohol. Many go on to experience uninterrupted recovery and return to practice without further difficulty or relapse. In light of this longstanding dilemma, this topic should be introduced at the threshold of nursing school and be a continued educational requirement throughout our careers. To do anything less when prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in every community, ignores the ongoing threat to ourselves as individuals, our profession collectively and those in our care. There are valuable resources on this subject at many state nursing association websites, www.aana.com and www.unbecominganurse.org. Paula Davies Scimeca, RN, MS

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