Police Lab Tech Gets 6 Months for Drug Theft
Anyone can become addicted to drugs. Just ask former Anne Arundel County, Maryland crime lab technician Annette A. Box, 49. And it led her to a six-month prison sentence for theft of prescription drugs, stolen from drop boxes at district stations which were under the jurisdiction of county law enforcement. Box admitted to stealing 1,800 prescription drugs and more than 10,000 OTC drugs over a two year period.
After a car accident in 2012, Box became addicted to oxycodone, a powerful, opioid-based prescription drug while dealing with problems in her home situation. To maintain her habit, Box started stealing the drugs out of the disposal boxes, secure locations on police premises where drugs seized in raids could be held until no longer needed for evidentiary purposes, and would subsequently be destroyed.
Box’s attorney Peter O’Neill maintained during her trial that it was the County Police Department which failed to act on concerns reported by other employees of the department. Box’s co-workers say they complained about her frequent drowsiness and inattentiveness on the job, and that she was often unable to complete her work, saying that eventually, the county’s Crisis Response Team had to intervene.
However, Police Chief Timothy Altomare said there was no evidence before she was arrested that Box had an addiction problem. He refused to comment on whether or not medical intervention had been done, saying that privacy and health laws prevented such disclosures.
Assistant State’s Attorney Jason Steinhardt said Box has “expressed remorse,” but he was skeptical. “This crime took place over several years. She doesn’t understand the effects on the public trust,” adding that Box, as county laboratory manager, could locate any drop box with a large stash of painkillers, especially oxycodone. “Some of the stuff she stole was still in evidence envelopes,” he added.
Box’s arrest has led the department to conduct an audit of dropbox procedures, and will stringently enforce its policy that requires two officers to be present when the boxes are opened and drugs inventoried.
Again, this story shows the downward spiral that prescription drug addiction can cause. A skilled and community-trusted lab manager ends up addicted to pain killers, and within a few years, her life spirals out of control. Certainly, the story indicates there are other contributing factors, but no doubt the drug addiction played a significant part.
To learn more about Oxycodone (also called Oxycontin), check out Rxlist.com, which includes a list of other brand names and side effects.
Through Project KnowHow, you can find information on treatment options or located a recovery center near you. “You don’t have to be an addict forever.” Call them at 877-853-0815.
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