Suffredin- An Advocate for All of Us  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County was created on January 15, 1831 and named after Daniel P. Cook, Member of Congress and the first Attorney from the State of Illinois.
   
     
     
     



Drugs Disappear From Stroger Hospital

Monday, August 26, 2013
CBS2
by Pam Zekman

Are missing prescription drugs from Cook County Stroger Hospital supplying illegal street sales of painkillers and other narcotics that can be abused?

That’s the concern of the Drug Enforcement Administration after its audit — requested by the county inspector general — found lax security and inadequate record-keeping at the hospital. CBS 2's Pam Zekman and the Better Government Association detail the findings in this original report. “This is a system that dispenses tens of millions of dollars of drugs ever year, and yet an untold number of pills and other narcotics are apparently disappearing,” the BGA’s Andy Shaw says.

The DEA’s audit found the hospital was not in compliance with federal regulations. Among the problems: failures to conduct regular inventories and to satisfy reporting requirements related to controlled substances. “This goes to the heart of the problem of controlled substances,” says Jack Riley, the special agent in charge of the DEA’s Chicago Field Division. “If they’re not properly accounted for and if the records aren’t up to date, these things can be diverted into the general public, onto the street.”

The missing drugs could have more severe consequences for patients like Sandra Lee, who has a seizure disorder. She recalled one time when she got home from picking up her prescriptions and discovered 60 pills were missing from what was supposed to be her three-month supply. “Without the pills it could cause a seizure,” Lee says. Shaw says that’s all too common. “This has been for years with no oversight and no accountability, according to numerous sources, including doctors, about pills disappearing from the dosages that are supposed to be going to patients,” he says.

The fact that drugs have been disappearing was particularly troubling to Riley, who says the number of victims of prescription drug abuse is rising. “It keeps me up at night. Last year, for the first time, more people died of prescription drug abuse than heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine combined,” he says.

In a letter to the county board, the Inspector General said his on-site inspections of the hospital’s receiving dock found “security practices and procedures were lax to non-existent.”

Some drugs were apparently missing or stolen from refrigerators, secured storage cabinets and nursing stations – or, while being transferred from the pharmacies to the nursing stations.

“That scares me,” Riley says. “Because that shows a total lack of control from the time that they’re acquired to the time that they’re transported to where they’re going to be administered to the patient.”

County hospital police reports document more than 80 incidents when drugs, including anti-anxiety medications such as valium and lorazepam as well as pain killers like Vicodin, morphine, demerol and oxycodone, were reported lost, missing, or stolen since 2006. They are potentially addictive painkillers that are often abused and mixed with street drugs for sale and consumption.

“Based upon the content of the police reports and our observations,” the Inspector General said, “it appears that not all missing, lost or stolen pharmaceuticals are being accurately reported.” The fact that drugs have been disappearing was particularly troubling to Riley, who says the number of victims of prescription drug abuse is rising.

“It keeps me up at night. Last year, for the first time, more people died of prescription drug abuse than heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine combined,” Riley says.

Now, the DEA is working with the hospital to tighten up procedures. “I see no difference in a controlled substance going out the back door of a hospital as I do a Latin King selling heroin with a pistol in his hand on a street corner,” Riley says.

In a written statement to CBS 2 and the BGA, Dr. Ram Raju, the CEO of the Cook County Health and Hospitals, said the health system has cooperated fully with the DEA and the county’s independent Inspector General. “We have addressed each finding and recommendation and have taken immediate action to ensure that all necessary pharmaceutical controls are in place throughout the system,” Dr. Raju said, “including implementing new information technology systems and operational process improvements.”



Recent Headlines

Prisoner escapes from Chicago police custody en route to Cook County Jail
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

County clerk’s office needs federal oversight
Monday, September 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

City Club of Chicago: Toni Preckwinkle – Advancing Racial Equity in Cook County
Monday, September 16, 2019
WGN Radio

Choosing Cook County judges, Justice Ginsburg reminds us, should not be a popularity contest
Monday, September 16, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Kim Foxx interested, wary of working with Trump White House on criminal justice reform
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Is Clerk Karen Yarbrough ‘best official’ in county — or is patronage hiring flap only ‘tip of the iceberg’?
Sunday, September 15, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

A secret vote will choose Cook County’s next judicial chief. A $270 million budget, thousands of employees, and the future of a huge court system are at stake.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Evans Faces Challenge Thursday For Position As Cook County Chief Judge
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
WBEZ News

Cook County Health's John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital Receives $5M Federal Grant to Support Cancer Research
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Daily Herald

Cook County Forest Preserves Might Pitch Property Tax Hike To Voters
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
WBEZ News

Column: Ethically, Todd Ricketts owes Cook County six more years of property taxes on his Wilmette house. He should pay up.
Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Watchdog accuses County Clerk Karen Yarbrough of running ‘illegal patronage’ operation, wants court oversight
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Prosecutors Decline To File Charges In About 1 In Every 5 Murder Cases
Thursday, September 05, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County Maps Story of Opioid Epidemic with New Website
Thursday, September 05, 2019
WBEZ News

Slow refund checks for Water Tower residents—including the county treasurer—lead to proposed fee
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

Criminal history vs. compassion? County debate over role of rap sheets in rental decisions
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County’s new law barring landlords from turning away tenants with certain criminal backgrounds faces controversy
Wednesday, September 04, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Upholding Cook County’s assault weapons ban
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Hospital rehab awarded $3 million in state tax credits
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Curbed Chicago

Cook County Finance Committee to approve $3 million settlement in medical malpractice case
Tuesday, September 03, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP