Clinic Stories

High and Mighty

A federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) license and a state Controlled Dangerous Substances license are required to purchase and prescribe controlled substances. One must be a licensed professional in good standing to acquire and maintain licensure. Some drugs must be ordered on special forms, inventory and dispensing records must be carefully maintained and facilities are subject to random inspections. Twice I have had problems related to controlled drugs.

Mandy was a female body builder who worked as a receptionist. At the time anabolic steroids were available by prescription both as a pill and by injection. They were very useful in geriatric patients, both human and animal, to increase strength, improve mobility and reduce recovery from injuries. Given that Mandy’s husband was a pharmacist one did not have to connect many dots to suspect that her muscular appearance may have had a chemical boost. Inconveniently their marriage hit a rough patch, they separated and later divorced. During their break up, a bottle of Stenozolol disappeared from the controlled substances safe. I used what scare tactics I could announcing the theft at the next staff meeting and telling them the FDA had been informed and would likely conduct an investigation. Fortunately Mandy quit soon after the theft and we stopped carrying anabolic steroids. Due to their abuse potential they were later pulled from the market. What a tragedy that people and animals have been deprived of a useful family of drugs due to the pursuit of grotesque physiques.

Jeff thought we should know. Maryann had called him at the office and asked him to grab a bottle of ketamine and bring it to her after work. Not unexpectedly, when I asked her about it she denied everything. The next day I received a call from a woman who claimed to be Maryann’s mother. “I can’t believe you would accuse my daughter of using drugs. I am a nurse and my husband is a policeman and we would know if she was using drugs.” I explained that it was not me who accused and that I had a responsibility to follow up on the report. I suspected that the caller was a friend posing as her mother.

When the story got around, another staff member suggested that we ask her to pull up her sleeves. My wife and I along with the office manager invited Maryann into the office. The conversation was brief. “Maryann, please pull up your sleeves.” Silently, she complied. “Maryann, you’re fired.” She left without a word.

Two weeks later another animal hospital called for a reference on Maryann. I gave them the facts and they thanked me profusely. At that point we instituted a drug testing policy.

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