Tales from the ER: Drug Seeker Stories

Tales from the ER: Drug Seeker Stories


February 27, 2008

I was reading a post at Scalpel or Sword today that made me think of some examples of drug seekers that are pretty funny in a twisted sort of way. I don’t know if these people are too stupid to know how stupid they are or how they thought they would possibly get away with these acts but they do try.

The first of our culprits took a Vicodin prescription written for 10 pills and added a ‘0’ making it 100 pills. They might have gotten away with it except our narcotic prescriptions have quantity checkboxes and the 1 – 24 box was checked. Oh yeah, the added zero was in a different color pen. And the patient came back to the ER to ask why we cancelled the prescription. It made it much easier for the police to find them.

The next one added a ‘1’ to the ‘0’ refills making it a ten. The astute pharmacist thought it was odd that the ER would write for ten refills on a vicodin prescription and called us. They were asked to stall the patient while we notified the police.

I have seen more than one person poke their finger for a couple of drops of blood to put in their urine sample to fool us into believing they had a kidney stone. Real kidney stones are excruciatingly painful and often require large doses of narcotics and we are happy to give them as the patient is suffering so.

We are very rigid about requiring a ride to be present prior to administration of narcotics for patients that are not emergently ill, like back pain, migraines etc. I have had a patient go out in front of the hospital and convince someone to come in and say they were the driver. I have had a patient sneak out the back door after receiving ativan and back into another car. It always looks good to the incoming patients and families to have an arrest taking place in the parking lot.

Our regulars know the rule about the rides so they will sign in to be seen and neglect to mention that the driver is also signed in as a patient.

I’ve been told by patients in the lobby that they heard a patient come out and use the courtesy phone to call a buddy to tell them “dude, I scored 20 Vicodin!”

I’ve been called by pharmacies to say “We just filled a prescription for 180 Vicodin for this patient yesterday, do you want us to fill yours today?” That would be no, cancel that please. And then you have to wonder, with approximately 50 pharmacies in a 20 mile radius, they would go to the same one.

Some people would think, what does it matter, they aren’t hurting anyone but themselves. That is not true. First of all, they are taking up an ER room when sicker people are waiting and ambulances are getting diverted. Then, they drive around under the influence and kill and injure innocent people. Most of them don’t work and are on welfare or disability for some made up medical problem and their support is coming out of your pockets. They run up billions of dollars of medical cost yearly which also comes out of your pockets and causes our insurance and out of pocket costs to rise continuously.

so isn’t that a happy thought, I am working 60 or more hours a week to scrape by so that I can support their drug habit. Yippee.

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