Originally published February 6 2012
Hospital pharmacist sentenced for stealing morphine and other prescription painkiller drugs
by S. D. Wells
(NaturalNews) Daniel Hamm, a former pharmacist at Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, could have faced 10 years in prison for pilfering (watering down) morphine with saline solution and stealing prescription painkillers, but instead gets 5 years of probation and some community service. Hamm pleaded guilty after learning the hospital pharmacy had him on videotape, and the sentence ended up being very light, to say the least. Although the case was prosecuted in Federal Court by the Assistant U.S. Attorney Luis M. Matos, here is yet another incidence where the punishment doesn't fit the crime (barely any punishment at all), and there's a good reason that you may find quite shocking. (http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/CriminalInvestigations/ucm284426.htm)
Here were the nails in the coffin: the testing of one of the vials of Hydromorphone that Hamm "re-shelved" revealed it had only 6% of its normal concentration. Hamm also glued the lids back on. If that glue mixed with the Morphine, the problem compounds instantly.
Basically, Hamm was going into the vault and placing the saline filled vials back on the shelves for distribution to patients, and this licensed pharmacist gets a 5 year "slap on the wrist" probationary period with a little community service to top it off?
Maybe a 5 year sentence in jail (of the 10 year maximum for that crime) would be a little more appropriate. You get ten years of hard time in a federal prison for selling an ounce of pot in the USA! This guy was caught on video stealing this extremely potent opiate analgesic psychoactive drug, one of the most potent narcotics on the planet, and is sentenced to do some anti-drug pep talks. Would it be considered involuntary manslaughter if someone who was prescribed morphine picked up their prescription from Hamm's counter and later died from saline and glue poisoning? (http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Morphine.aspx)
This is how America fights the war on drugsThere are the morphine dealers on the streets that get their drugs from their scoundrel pharmacist friends. Then there are the patients coming out of the hospitals (e.g., after major surgery) with prescriptions for morphine (or Hydromorphone) who are getting a 94% saline dosage, and then reeling in pain later.
Black market sales of pharmaceuticals are quickly rising, especially with popular drugs like Oxycontin, Prozac and Xanax. All you have to do is tell the doctor once a month that your back hurts or that you're chronically depressed and you've got a consistent supplier, and when that wears out its welcome, just peruse the streets for pharmacists with "friends" still on the inside.
Selling stolen pharmaceuticals on the street (black market drugs) is, in fact, very common, and this is a typical case of pilfering, as caught on video. Pilfering is defined as "stealing stealthily in small amounts, and usually repetitively". This is about stealing morphine and powerful painkillers, not some case of a teenager who waters down their parent's bourbon and vodka bottles and puts them back up on the shelf, thinking they won't get caught. This kind of pilfering is done for resale reasons more often than for personal use.
The FDA Office of Criminal Investigations and a U.S. District Court Judge are also forcing Hamm to visit the Wyatt Detention Center and make presentations to pharmaceutical groups and students about the dangers of doing what he did. So now all of a sudden this drug dealer is a public speaker? Sounds more like the "middle man" on the streets until 2017, when he's free to take on more promising opportunities!
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