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View Full Version : I just discovered a (now ex) friend stole my medication


Mama Tiger
07-05-2005, 01:00 AM
Not pitworthy, more a sad commentary on a friendship that is rather suddenly over.

I'm seeing a pain management specialist for sympathetic mediated pain in my leg, and he has me on small doses of a prescription painkiller. He knows how much of it I really need, and so is very careful about not over-prescribing, so I usually end up with at most one or two days' extra when I see him next. I saw him last Thursday, got my new prescription filled Friday, finished up the last pill from my old prescription tonight, and pulled out the new bottle from the drawer of my desk where I keep my prescriptions well out of sight of anyone except the most assiduously snoopy. I'd noticed the bottle was nearly full when I'd picked it up Friday; it was a slightly different medication, so I'd opened it and physically compared a pill to my last prescription.

Except that when I picked it up, I realized it's not nearly full any more. A friend, who we'll call K, was over two days this weekend helping me pack for my upcoming cross-country move. K had had dental surgery with two stitches, and she'd taken all the medication her dentist had given her but said her mouth still hurt. She was able to eat and drink okay, so she didn't seem to be exactly suffering. But I had to run out for some more packing supplies, and while I was gone apparently she dug through my things till she found my prescription and helped herself to 12 of the 30 pills in the bottle. :(

So now I don't know whether I should report this to any authorities (other than my doctor, who I'm going to tell because I believe he should know -- not that he'll replace the medication without a police report, so since I'm trying to get off the medication anyway so I'll just have to space it out more and take less and probably hurt more till my next scheduled appointment). I have no proof that K took the pills, but I know the bottle was full Friday and she's the only other person who was in my house all weekend.

I really hesitate about filing a police report over this; it's not worth 12 pills, frankly, and I have no actual proof that she took them. I also don't want to pile more on her righth now; she's a recently dumped single mom with two toddlers and a deadbeat ex, and I think she's mostly just really struggling. But I did send her an email tonight asking her to please be honest with me and tell me if she took the pills -- and why I'm quite sure she did -- and tell her I no longer want her over at my house because I just don't feel like I can trust her.

Mostly, though, I'm just really bummed. I hate it when someone does something sneaky like that. :(

I just don't know where to go from here. Except finish my packing without her assistance.

NinetyWt
07-05-2005, 02:15 AM
I'm mighty sorry about that Mama Tiger.

I had a similar experience a year or so ago, when one of my daughter's friends "helped herself" to my pain medication.

I have TMJ, and while most days it doesn't bother me, or or two days out of the year it HURTS LIKE HELL and I can't chew a n y t h i n g. So my dentist prescribed a painkiller, and he and I are both very careful that I don't use too much of it.

Like you, I was astounded to realize that C had taken 17 of my 20 pills.

Part of it is the sneakiness. I mean, if your friend had *really* needed it, she could have asked you "oh, have you got a Darvocet or something around?"

grrrrr. People are SO rude.

Broomstick
07-05-2005, 05:01 AM
I don't find it rude so much as disturbing.

I mean, c'mon - you folks have these prescriptions because of legtimate pain reasons. Theft of those pills causes real suffering for you. What kind of creepy person steals medicine needed by other people?

And the quantity taken seems rather disturbing as well. It's not just that these folks seem to go through their own, legitimate prescriptions with alarming speed, they seem to take a fair chunk of yours as well. Doesn't mean they're addicts or drug abusers, but it's sure a warning flag of same.

Mostly, though, I'm just said for you folks. How horrible to have needed medication stolen. :(

Cicero
07-05-2005, 05:07 AM
The thief is virtually saying- I don't care about your problems, even though they are serious enough to have prescription medicine, I want these for my own use.

It stinks.

Mama Tiger
07-05-2005, 10:09 AM
Thanks, guys. I was a bit angry, but more upset. I had trusted her, and I think having that trust betrayed is what upsets me more than the loss of medication. Maybe this is someone's way of telling me to stop taking the stuff, which is my goal with this doctor is to not need it at all; but losing a friend is what bothers me the most. I don't think she has drug problems; she has money problems, and saw an easy -- and free -- to way tide her over till her mouth heals.

I don't trust easily. And I don't forgive easily when my trust is betrayed like this, either. Which is a shame; I was really enjoying having her for a friend.

swampbear
07-05-2005, 10:25 AM
If she had taken all her prescribed meds already, why didn't she ask her dentist for more? I know you said things are a little rough for her right now, but still I'm kind of suspicious about whether or not she's addicted to pain meds. She sounds like she's over using them. Don't get me wrong Mama Tiger, I think it's great you are willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Heck, you know her, I don't so I'm sure you have your reasons for believing she's not addicted. Still, that sounds like addictive behavior to me. I, too, had (note had) a friend like that. He was abusing pain meds and stole other friend's meds and forged prescriptions. I'm just sorry she chose to take advantage of you.

Mama Tiger
07-05-2005, 10:37 AM
Well, she emailed me this morning insisting she did NOT take the pills, and yet also offering to get more from her doctor to replace them. Which suggests to me that she knows she got caught.

I laid out all the circumstantial evidence for her -- she know I was taking the medication (I mentioned I take small doses of it when she said her dentist had prescribed it for her, but only given her 6 pills); she knew where I keep my prescriptions (we were talking about vitamins, and when I showed her the kitchen cabinet they're in, she said I should put them out where I'd remember them and I said I keep the things I take every day on my desk upstairs); and she was home alone in my house two times over the weekend, once for 15 minutes, once for about 30 minutes.

So I don't know whether she's abusing prescription drugs or not; I just don't plan to give her any more opportunities to feed her (alleged) habit from my prescription! It's very disappointing.

elfbabe
07-05-2005, 01:20 PM
I would certainly have to recommend against taking pills you get from anyone other than your own doctor.

If your friend was the only person you know was in the house over the weekend and SHE didn't take the pills, their disappearance must be the work of some unusually stealthy mystery burglar. You must file a police report for the good of the community, so they can get started on catching this fiend. Let your friend know you're going to file it, just in case the police need her help in their investigations. ;) ;)



You're not helping her by shielding her from the consequences of her actions. Stealing half a month's supply of meds from a friend who needs them, then lying about it when confronted... these are not the actions of somebody who's just having a bit of dental pain. The fact that she has two little kids depending on her just gives even more reason not to let her get away with something like this.

Mama Tiger
07-05-2005, 01:59 PM
Maybe the same person took my meds as killed Nicole Simpson. Cause we all know OJ didn't do it. :D

I've decided I'm not going to file a police report over 12 missing pills. I suspect they'd laugh in my face, frankly. And should, through some weird kink in the universe, it turn out to be true that she didn't take them, I'd hate to have that kind of an accusation carved in stone against her.

But she knows I know. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the idea that she'd think I wouldn't notice 1/3 of the bottle was gone. One or two pills, sure; but 12 out of 30?

Obsidian
07-05-2005, 03:53 PM
People are remarkably jerky about the prescription painkillers of others. I get migraines, and I have a small, treasured supply of painkillers for when it becomes unbearable. I hate taking them, and I only do so when absolutly necesary. I swear I am going to punch the next person who says, "ooh, vicodin, I bet that would be great with a beer." To hell with you. That bottle is the only thing standing between me an a trip to the emergency room, and you want to borrow it? No one thinks that by trying to get me to give them a pill recreationally, that's setting me up to be in severe pain. I think, like you, that's what would get me if someone ever stole my meds. They've all seen how bad the headaches are, how could they strand me without my relief?

And the last thing a person like me, with intermitant serious pain that I will likely have all my life, is to have my file flagged for going through too many pills.

Mama Tiger
07-05-2005, 04:03 PM
Well, I did report the theft to my doctor's office, and while they commiserated, they basically said I was out of luck without a police report, even though they believe me. They've had enough people tryingg to abuse the system that they have a flat policy. Which I respect, even if I don't like it much right now.

But you're absolutely right, Obsidian, people who think my drugs are recreational haven't lived with chronic pain for several years. I've been taking the same dosage for several years now, which is certainly not enough for recreational purposes, just barely enough to keep the edge off my pain (being completely pain-free happens about once a month for five minutes, and is just a glorious feeling when it happens). So it really pisses me off that someone would have so little consideration for my circumstances.

Like I said, I'll make do; because I'd been cutting back already, I can just barely stretch out what I have, as long as I'm willing to go a few extra hours between dosages (and I only take 1/2 pill at a time in any event). But 12 pills was a week's worth of medication to me; in other circumstances, I could have ben totally screwed, or else out a chunk of change since this doctor isn't a provider on our insurance plan but, since he's the first (and only) doctor who's been able to actually reduce my pain without just upping my drug dosage, so I'm willing to pay the $125 that's what's left after my insurance company contributes its pittance. But it totally sucks.

NinetyWt
07-06-2005, 02:01 AM
No one thinks that by trying to get me to give them a pill recreationally, that's setting me up to be in severe pain.

Thank you.

And the last thing a person like me, with intermitant serious pain that I will likely have all my life, is to have my file flagged for going through too many pills.

Thank you again. Regular people who are not dependent on these *rainy day* meds just need an "upside-the-head-with-a-clue-stick"

For 17 more months I was reduced to trying (unsuccessfuly) to knock the edge off this TMJ pain because C stole that many pills. Bitch.

Phish Head
07-06-2005, 09:37 AM
Mama Tiger, just out of curiosity, why did you leave her alone in your house? Why didn't she go with you?

Maybe it's just me, because I've been "burned" by quite a few people in my life, people, who, I thought I could trust, but I would never let anyone outside of my immediate family stay in my house alone, for any period of time. And I mean no one. Not even our church friends.

I just can't envision a scenario, anymore at least, where I would let someone stay inside my house alone. It's weird, because I never really thought about it before, until I read this thread. It sucks, really. I just don't fully trust many people at all any more. :(

Lissa
07-06-2005, 10:28 AM
Last year, I was THIS CLOSE to firing my housekeeper. I discovered a bottle of medication missing from my medicine cabinet-- a medicine which is frequently abused and is a popular "street drug". I had dark suspicions that my housekeeper, whom I knew was always in a pinch for money, had stolen and sold it.

I felt the same outrage you guys did, but also tempered with mercy-- she, too, had kids. I decided not to say anything. I counted all of the pills in my medicine cabinet, and laid a hair over the top of one of the pill bottles. I decided if it never happened again, I'd do nothing, but if pills came up missing again, I'd act.

I found the medication in a travel bag. I'd forgotten I'd packed it for a trip.

I'm very glad I never said anything to her.

Anaamika
07-06-2005, 10:32 AM
Obsidian: I cannot even comprehend people who casually ask for your Vicodin, or comment how much fun it would be with a beer. Why? Where do they get the idea this would be OK? This just blows my mind.

Phish Head: I guess at some point you end up trusting your friends, but I do understand where you're coming from.

Elza B
07-06-2005, 12:03 PM
Obsidian: I cannot even comprehend people who casually ask for your Vicodin, or comment how much fun it would be with a beer. Why? Where do they get the idea this would be OK? This just blows my mind.



Speaking as someone who has recently finished a treatment program for a painkiller addiction, they casually ask because Vicodin makes you feel good. Maybe they have family members who have no problem handing them a pill or two when they go to visit - like mine will.

And because asking casually and laughing it off makes it seem like you don't really NEED them. But you do, and you're always going to need them, and unfortunately, some people will do what Mama Tiger's friend did and take them without asking. I did. A family friend who was addicted to Vicodin made off with half of my dad's Vicodin for back problems.

People are always going to lie and steal and cheat to get these pills, and even those who say that they're fine now, they don't need them, like me, will think about them for a very long time. And if the situation presents itself, some of them will take them. When you're addicted to, or have been addicted to, painkillers, things that most people would never think are okay BECOME okay in your mind.

E.

Anaamika
07-06-2005, 12:07 PM
Ok, Elza, not having had that addiction I'll just say I know next to nothing about it and will bow out. However, I still extend all my sympathies to those who have been put in that awkard position of being asked.

Obsidian
07-06-2005, 01:09 PM
I know a lot of people with "extra" vicodin. Dentists, especially, seem happy to dispense it with ease. One of my roommates had his wisdom teeth out, and he got a bottle. He took them the first day (so maybe 4 tops), then switched to motrin so he could go back to work. For all the people that want to get high, there just as many who don't like the feeling (they made him nauseous and very itchy, and out of his mind). He had no use for them after that, and wouldn't have minded being asked for them. I think people don't even think about chronic pain being different.

(Trying to be helpfull, he just dumped his extras into my bottle. Counting your pills one day and finding MORE that there were yesterday is very confusing.)

We had a party this weekend and I'd been fighting off a migraine. My boyfriend asked quietly if I wanted him to go get my vicodin. (My whole household knows where it is, as usually by the time I cave in an take it, I'm incapable for getting up and getting it myself) From somewhere in the crowd someone says, "You have vicodin? Cool! Why didn't you say so?"

I stood up and shouted that it's not a damn party drug, and I'm really sick of being asked. You can't have any. You can NEVER have any. This person was offended! (Because I wasn't "sharing"). Another friend turned to him and was like "Oh, shut up, I have some old vicodin at home if you want it that bad."

I'm making a list of these people, and when I have a really bad migraine, i'm going to go vomit at thier house.

Elenfair
07-06-2005, 06:09 PM
I'm making a list of these people, and when I have a really bad migraine, i'm going to go vomit at thier house.

Bravo, my friend.

I, too, have a collection of painkillers, NSAIDs and muscle relaxants. I have AS, but hate the meds so much that I tend to put up with a lot of pain before giving in and taking something.

I don't understand people who want to bum some off us for "recreational" purposes. Vicodin makes me sick so I avoid it unless I can't stand the pain anymore...

Elza B
07-06-2005, 06:14 PM
Ok, Elza, not having had that addiction I'll just say I know next to nothing about it and will bow out. However, I still extend all my sympathies to those who have been put in that awkard position of being asked.

No, no, I'm sorry - I didn't mean that to sound so harsh to you! I am really, really sorry - that's not what I meant. I'm more frustrated with the addicts, including myself, you know? Because I've done this before.

Seriously - my ire was at the woman who stole her pills, not you - I promise! And I'm really sorry it came across that way!

E.

Mama Tiger
07-06-2005, 06:20 PM
Sorry I've been missing from the thread, guys; Cindy knocked my power out. Only the good offices of my next door neighbor, who works for the power company dispatching offices, got us up and running as quickly as we were; the rest of our neighborhood is still dark. :D

Phish head, I left this friend alone in my house because, first, it was only for a little while -- less than half an hour; second, I've known her for some time, and she's never been anything but honest with me before (that I could tell); third, I don't really have all that many valuables in my house, and my medication is well hidden away so that no casual visitor would ever run across it -- I don't keep it anywhere obvious like a medicine cabinet, but hidden in a desk drawer, just on principle, because I don't want to tempt people; and fourth, it takes a while to earn my trust but when you do, I tend to be quite open with it.

This is the first time I have ever been burned like this, so I'm chalking it up to experience and making sure I hide my Vicodin better, and also I will admit that I went and checked my jewelry after I found the missing pills to see if she'd been lightfingered there, too. I really hated even having to think like that about someone.

Today, she's emailing me like nothing ever happened. Does she really think I'm just going to pick up where we left off? I point blank told her I had no choice but to believe she took the pills, and I'm certainly not going to change my views now; it may take you a long time to earn my trust, but it only takes a few minutes to lose it, and her few minutes are up. Sheesh.

Anaamika
07-06-2005, 08:19 PM
No, no, I'm sorry - I didn't mean that to sound so harsh to you! I am really, really sorry - that's not what I meant. I'm more frustrated with the addicts, including myself, you know? Because I've done this before.

Seriously - my ire was at the woman who stole her pills, not you - I promise! And I'm really sorry it came across that way!


And I shouldn't have spoken without any knowledge of it. So...truce. :)

Qadgop the Mercotan
07-06-2005, 08:58 PM
Sucks to have a friend do that to you, Mama. And I congratulate you for calling her out on it. Confrontation, not enabling, is what an addict needs. Nothing wrong with a little "wake-up" arrest either, if the evidence/circumstance warrants.

But I can assure you it sucks even more to be the addict who's so hopelessly hooked thru the gonads that they do this to friends, family and loved ones.

Eva Luna
07-06-2005, 09:37 PM
[Maybe it's just me, because I've been "burned" by quite a few people in my life, people, who, I thought I could trust, but I would never let anyone outside of my immediate family stay in my house alone, for any period of time. And I mean no one. Not even our church friends.



Sometimes you can't even trust your immediate family.

Post-leg surgery, I was prescribed Vicodin. I hate the stuff with a passion - hate not being in control of my brain - and so I only took it to make the pain bearable for the first couple of days post-surgery. I knew I was going to have long and painful rehab, though, so I held onto it in the medicine cabinet. I probably had 25 pills left of the original 30.

Imagine my surprise when, after a visit from my sister, the bottle turned up nearly empty, after she had been complaining that her doc and insurance company would not keep supplying her with painkillers for an ongoing knee problem (one which is typically treated with anti-inflammatories, not narcotics, but I digress).

Imagine my further surprise when I got a call from the pharmacy where I'd filled the original prescription on the way home from the hospital, with my sister driving me - a pharmacy which I don't normally patronize, as it is nowhere near my house. They were calling to tell me they were out of Vicodin, so they wouldn't be able to fill my refill prescription.

Refill? What refill? I'd never even taken most of the first batch, much less requested a refill, much less from them. Oh, and did I mention that my sister at the time worked as an office manager for an oral surgery practice and therefore knew the ropes as far as calling pharmacies?

I drove to the pharmacy in person, even as gimpy as I still was, and expressed my concerns to the pharmacist (who didn't seem to care and said there was nothing they could do). Then I called my primary doc and my ortho and told them never to call in a prescription for me unless they spoke to me personally.

Of course, she denied everything, though there was nobody else who'd had the opportunity to take the drugs. This is why my sister does not have my apartment keys, nor is she allowed at my place unsupervised (and very rarely supervised, for that matter).

Aaaargh - why do some people have no control over their impulses?

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