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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

I am distressed this evening. Very distressed. Today was a distressing day overall, what with it being the first of the month and all (a very busy day in the pharmacy). We were busy beyond belief, and I was exhausted thanks to a late night last night. But I stumbled on bad news that has me terribly upset. Since my first day at my new location, I knew we had a stealing problem. Loss Prevention had noticed that the on-hand counts of Xanax 2 mg* had been sneakily reduced several times - as if someone were stealing the drug, then decreasing our on-hand counts (the computer record of drug quantities on hand for inventory purposes). That way if anyone counted the drug for audit purposes it would look like the quantities were correct.
We've been checking the counts occasionally throughout the day, and this morning when I opened the count was off by two hundred.
That basically pin-points the tech who closed last night, since the night pharmacist counted the tablets right after the evening tech (who left at 8:30) clocked out. The only person with access would have been the night tech (who left at 10). UNLESS!
Unless the morning tech, who opened with me at 7 am, got to the tablets before I did. I'm 99% sure she didn't, because frankly I suspected her and made it a point to count them while she was still opening up and putting cash in the drawers. But because I'm not absolutely sure (Did someone come up and ask me a question and distract me? Is the tech clever enough to evade my notice - after all, the thief has been getting away with it for months? Do I remember EXACTLY who did what this morning?) I feel horrible about accusing someone.
Unfortunately it's not up to me. By state law we have to report this theft by tomorrow, and I already alerted Loss Prevention and the manager. Unless the DEA or state tells us differently, the plan is to monitor the surveillance video (we're installing a new camera that points directly at the shelf) and keep on counting.
I feel so miserable to be in this situation. I hate that I have to work with people I can't trust! In pharmacy, you totally have to get each others' backs. You work together very closely and you must, must, must be a team. I can't practice team work when one of my techs is robbing me blind behind my back!
* Xanax is a schedule-4 drug (a controlled substance) that is mostly used for anxiety; it is highly abused as a "downer" and in combo with other controlled substances. The 2 mg strength is the highest strength and much loved by druggies, who call them "Xan bars" (they're long bar shapes).


  1. Oh no - that is awful! I can just imagine the sick feeling in your stomach right now. THat is terrible. It's so tough to not be able to trust the people on your team.

    It never crossed my mind to think of people working in a pharmacy and stealing drugs. i amm so naive about that. That is just terrible, though.

  2. I'm so sorry! I've worked in a store where money was consistently being taken from the cash registers and we all had to go on assigned registers and we had to count out. The feeling of distrust and fear of false accusation is horrible!! I do hope this is quickly resolved for you!!

  3. Oh my gosh this sucks, I'm so sorry!

  4. Wow that sucks so much! I hope you get everything sorted out and that you end up with a team you can trust. On another note, can I just say I get so angry that people abuse anxiety medication! I have an actual anxiety disorder (one that I am only occasionally medicated for- mostly I rely on talk therapy) and because anxiety meds are so widely abused, I always feel like I'm going to be judged when I ask my Dr. for medication that I need (like when I fly or when I'm going through stuff that is particularly panic attack inducing). I feel like there is such a stigma b/c people abuse it which is so unfair to people who really have a medical need for it!

  5. Oh trust me Shelly. It takes me about a one-millionth of a second to determine if you have anxiety or if you're selling it on the street! Drug abuse is instantly recognizable.
    On a related note, I feel like opiate abuse hurts those with sickle cell disease. Pharmacies usually carry only minimal quantities of opiates for safety, but sickle cell patients could easily go through 8 percocet a day and still be in pain! We short change people with legitimate severe pain.

  6. Aww that sucks, I'm really sorry! I don't know why people have to go and do that kind of thing. I worked with a girl at a restaurant who was stealing from peoples credit cards. It was ridiculous - but also kind of sad.