This Was Not Smart

People who commit crimes are often very dumb about it. The late columnist Mike Royko once observed that many successful men always want the best of everything. They will be sure to get the best mechanic, doctor, lawyer, and financial advisors that they can afford. But if they have a marital problem, they will go to their local bartender to recruit a hit-man to get rid of their wife. Thus bartenders, who are not in the murder-for-hire business, often get to call the police to inform about these situations.

In recent news, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was busted for soliciting a prostitute. As a former Attorney General, he had to know about wiretaps, but naturally, he completely forgot about the possibility that he would be on the receiving end of a wiretap.

On page 6B of yesterday’s Erie Times News, to the left of the obituaries, there is a story about a woman who was arrested for forging prescriptions. The prescriptions were for hydrocodone, which is an opium-based painkiller that you might get if you have severe back pain, or if you are facing a root canal. It is highly addictive, and is often sold as an illegal drug.

The woman apparently forged the prescriptions from the same doctor’s office, and had the prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy, 5 times, thus ensuring that she would get caught.

I had a prescription for this drug when I had back problems last year. (I am much better now, though I do refrain from lifting pianos.) To get the prescription renewed, I had to sign an agreement acknowledging that it is an addictive drug, and that I would never try to get prescriptions for it from another doctor. The agreement also said that if I started acting like an addict, they would cut me off. This was after two local doctors had been prosecuted for over-prescribing pain-killers. The doctors need to protect themselves.

It is only natural to believe that pharmacies have similar procedures to protect themselves, and if an apparently healthy woman keeps coming back to the pharmacy for repeat prescriptions, it will likely raise suspicions. One call to that doctor’s office and she’s busted.

Now the woman faces charges for substance abuse and prescribing drugs without a license. They could get her for forgery, and perhaps insurance or Medicare fraud if the pills were covered through insurance or Medicare.

She may have a very long time to kick her drug habit.


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