Nurse Kristin Waite-Labott would have her co-workers cover for her when she stole fentanyl and morphine from her hospital’s medical supply cabinets. She eventually lost her job and spent time in jail before entertaining recovery and getting her nurse’s license back. It is important for addiction recovery to be taught in the medical field to ensure that hospital staff are safe, as well as their patients.

Patients Taking Contaminated Medication

Because of all of the stolen medications, patients who are undergoing cancer treatments or post-surgery recovery will be without pain relief. Patients will be left to linger in their own pain. The CDC and Mayo Clinic also say that healthcare workers who steal drugs frequently tamper with the medications, leading to contamination. Kimberly New, a medical drug misuse expert, describes a typical situation where someone administers an entire fentanyl vial by themselves and then refills the vial with water. This can cause many patients to be infected with blood-borne pathogens. A Mayo Clinic study found that 28,000 hospital patients were put at risk for contracting Hepatitis C over the course of ten years because of this type of situation. No patient should have to worry about taking contaminated medication.

The Lives and Careers of Medical Staff Destroyed

Doctors and nurses could lose their careers as well as their lives because of their opioid addiction. Nurse Iyesha Keller overdosed on a variety of opioids that she stole from her hospital’s supply and she ultimately died on the hospital bathroom floor. A nurse at a hospital in Denver spent 44 months in prison after stealing fentanyl from her facility’s intensive care unit and replacing medication with saline. Many hospitals do not have the proper controls and security systems needed to block drug diversion.

The DEA’s Minimal Involvement

The Drug Enforcement Administration has investigated 3,600 cases of alleged drug theft at healthcare facilities over the last five years. Unfortunately, the DEA does not spend a lot of time targeting hospital or clinic employees as they do not consider it a top priority. The problem is that if medical facilities do not detect a problem and it is not reported, the DEA and other law enforcement agencies have little chance of knowing about it. With deaths occurring and medication tampered with and stolen, more addiction recovery education and policies need to be handled in the healthcare industry to ensure lives and careers are saved.


Addiction has the tendency to destroy not only your career but also your life. As a healthcare worker struggling with addiction, you have access to pain medication you should be staying away from. By stealing the pain medication, you are leaving your patients without it, giving them a difficult recovery. You could also be contaminating the medication if you are tampering with it. Luckily, Alta Loma’s transformative facility is here for you. We are equipped with addiction specialists who can create a personalized addiction treatment plan just for you. You should seek help now before you lose your job and cause harm to yourself or your patients. We can provide you with treatment options such as 12-Step programs, individualized therapy, and more. We understand what a struggle it is to be constantly triggered in your surroundings. We can make sure you are on the right path to recovery. For more information, please reach out to us today at (866) 457-3843.