Indiana nurse charged in narcotics theft at outpatient surgery center

A nurse at Crown Point (Ind.) Surgical Suites outpatient surgery center has been charged with stealing hundreds of narcotics from the facility between June and December, according to a March 10 report from the NWI Times

Jessica Smith, 43, has been charged with felony theft, fraud and forgery and misdemeanor interfering with a drug or alcohol screening test. 

Ms. Smith was hired at the surgery center in April as a charge nurse, according to the report. Prior to her hiring, six facility nurses had access to the pill cabinet at the facility. 

Ms. Smith allegedly changed the system so she was the only one with access to the cabinet. In December, a nurse administrator noticed irregularities in the cabinet and discovered 300 hydrocodone and acetaminophen pills, 20 Oxycontin pills, 97 Percocet pills, 100 Tramadol pills and 39 vials of fentanyl were missing, according to the affidavit. 

The nurse also found an order written in May to dispose of 270 expired Oxycontin pills, which she asked Ms. Smith to complete, but the order was still open.

Ms. Smith was supposed to log pill counts at the end of each day, but had not done so since November. The center had to cancel appointments due to a lack of medication. Ms. Smith also refused to submit for a routine drug test of all employees. 

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