Former Stow-Glen nurse charged in alleged drug thefts

The nurse in this case was charged with tampering. Although the article doesn’t elaborate, it appears the allegations are that she substituted some type of pill for the opioids the residents were supposed to receive. – Kim New

By Jeff Saunders

Stow — A former Stow-Glen Retirement Village nurse is facing several felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with allegations that she stole more than a thousand prescription pain pills from several residents.

According to Stow Municipal Court records, Hartville resident Nicole M. Ashworth, 24, is charged with three counts each of fourth-degree felony theft and first-degree misdemeanor tampering with evidence.

A warrant was issued for Ashworth’s arrest March 21 and a notice of appearance ordering her to appear in court for a March 31 felony status hearing was sent March 23.

Christine A. Johnson, who is listed in court records as Ashworth’s attorney, did not return a phone call seeking comment before press time.

“Words cannot describe my feelings of remorse,” said Jason French, Stow-Glen’s administrator of nursing and assisted living in a March 23 email to the Stow Sentry, “caused by this betrayal of trust, caused by a person who we placed in charge of taking care of our residents. Our residents and families deserve to feel confident in the care we provide and that their personal belongings, including medications, are safe.

“We pray for all those affected directly and indirectly by this incident, including this former employee, that they find relief that led to their actions.”

According to a Stow police report, French reported the discovery that the alleged thefts had occurred between Aug. 1, 2015 and March 9. They included 985 hydrocodone pills from an 83-year-old woman, 58 oxycodone pills from a 75-year-old man and 10 hydrocodone pills from an 80-year-old woman. Total value of the pills was nearly $540.

According to court records, the tampering charges are in connection with allegations that she falsely reported in a prescription log that she was giving the medications to the patients

Stow-Glen spokesperson Bob Pontius told the Stow Sentry March 23 that another nurse discovered and reported that there was a discrepancy involving the medications. He said that Ashworth, who was hired in November 2014 and worked exclusively with assisted living residents, was initially suspended when the allegations came to light and her employment was subsequently terminated.

He said the residents never ran out of medications and the stolen medications have been replaced at Stow-Glen’s expense.

 “Stricter controls and stricter auditing by management have been put in place,” said Pontius, adding that “staff has received further training.”
Published by – Stow Sentry

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