An Oklahoma nursing home is reviewing its security procedures after thieves targeted it twice in a month to steal narcotics.
In the more recent incident, thieves climbed through the outside office window at the Artesian Home in Sulphur, OK, on Aug. 14, authorities said. They made off with more than 200 doses of norco, nearly 100 doses of Oxycontin, and similar amounts of morphine and Xanax, along with a handful of fentanyl patches.
In total, the head of the nursing home estimated the value of opioids stolen at $1,000. But while the dollar amount isn’t fiscally fatal, administrator Brett Coble said following the incidents he’s changed the locks, and encouraged staff to stay on their toes for any suspicious activities.
He told McKnight’s the challenge for administrators is adding security but avoiding adding bars or over-the-top security measures, although cameras may be an option.
“This is our residents’ home. I don’t want to make it feel like a prison by putting bars up. We’re just being very vigilant about who comes into our facility and who’s around it at night, and securing our medications properly,” Coble told McKnight’s. “It’s very frustrating.”
Sulphur Police Chief David Shores said that he plans to bring the FBI in to help with questioning, and suspects that the theft may have been perpetrated by a current or former employee, given that they “went straight for the key” to the med cart.
He recommended to McKnight’s that all nursing homes take proper precautions to keep narcotics safe. Those include storing the meds in a room without windows, and keeping the key in the administration office, rather than the nurses’ station.
Shores also recommended installing security cameras near medication carts. Two different employees should count the supply at the end of the day, not just one.
“You have to be more secure and you have to have cameras in the hallway, so law enforcement can see people coming and going,” Shores said.