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.
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“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.”
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