Drug War

Moments After Utah Man's Wife Dies of Cancer, Cops Show Up to Confiscate Her Pain Pills

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While preparing his recently deceased wife's body for transporation to a funeral home, an elderly man in Vernal, Utah says that city's police arrived at his house to confiscate Barbara Mahaffey's pain medications, which she had taken while dying of colon cancer. Eighty-year-old Ben Mahaffey is now suing Vernal. The Deseret News reports

Barbara Alice Mahaffey died of colon cancer in her bedroom last May. Ben D. Mahaffey, 80, said he was distraught and trying to make sure his wife's body would be taken to the funeral home with dignity, when he says officers insisted he help them look for the drugs.

"I was holding her hand saying goodbye when all the intrusion happened," he told the Deseret News.

Barbara Mahaffey died at 12:35 a.m. with Mahaffey, a Navy medic in the Korean War, and his friend, an EMT, at her side. In addition to police, a mortician and a hospice worker arrived at the home about 12:45 a.m., Mahaffey said. He said he doesn't know how police came to be there.

Mahaffey said he was treated as if he were going to sell the painkillers, which included OxyContin, oxycodone and morphine, on the street.

In his suit, Mahaffey alleges that Vernal City Manager Ken Bassett told Mahaffey he was being "'overly sensitive' and that police were just trying to protect the public from illegal use of prescription drugs." The suit also alleges that Bassett then told Mahaffey "his own parents had recently died and he wouldn't have cared had police searched their house for drugs." Vernal has yet to comment on the lawsuit. Mahaffey's lawyer says that the pseudo-raid on the elderly couple's home is "common practice for Vernal police when someone dies, but that it's selectively applied." 

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  1. God help him if he had any cash or a dog.

    1. They should have shot the wife’s corpse. She was obviously a druggie.

      1. This whole situation is just really facking creepy. Were they hovering with a drone over this house waiting for this woman to die, so they could be on the spot within moments like this? How does this situation happen? It’s “common practice” to take advantage of a grieving husband to get him to agree to waive his 4th Amendment rights?

  2. OK. Here’s an interesting hypothetical moral quandary…

    Barack Obama makes the following offer. He will promote a constitutional amendment forbidding the U.S. govt and the states from making anything contraband (thus ending the drug war) in exchange for an amendment repealing the 2nd.

    Would you accept such a deal?

    1. No.

      My rights are not negotiable.

      Oh, and they’re not defined by the government, either.

    2. No. Because without the 2nd Amendment, there’s no way I’d ever trust the mendacious fuck to come through on his word.

      1. This actually isn’t as easy of a question as it seems.

        Afterall if they were constitutionally barred from making ANYTHING contraband, then they would be legally barred from preventing Gun ownership.

        They might be able to outlaw concealed carry since that would be outlawing the act and not the gun itself but arguably such an arraingement would be a net increase in freedom and a net restriction on the powers of government.

        1. But where would the Constitutional authority be for banning citizens from carrying some object tha is not contraband?

    3. Wouldn’t the new amendment be a superset of the 2nd, then?

      But in any case, no, because fuck Barack Obama.

    4. I don’t negotiate with terrorists.

      1. Very wise.

    5. Would you accept such a deal?

      The Constitutional scholar (who’s never published anything scholarly) could take his hypothetical deal and shove in the same place usually wipes with the Constitution (of which he is a scholar).

    6. Hell no.

      If the government isn’t afraid of an armed citizenry, all the other rights can be abused at will.

    7. Nope, that’s dumb.

    8. Hell no. Even if he came through with his end of the bargain, we would just trade the war on drugs for the war on guns. And that war would be just as bad and put just as many people unjustly in prison.

      1. Well, at least our prison industry is thriving, even if it’s the only industry not ruined.

        Neither Sam, nor the unions, have any intention of allowing compromise to one of their most profitable rackets.

    9. The president has nothing to do with constitutional amendments, so that would be an empty promise (even more than any BO promise is empty).

    10. Are firearms and ammunition included under the umbrella of stuff that can’t be made contraband? If so I might very well accept that deal (but only if I get to read the fine print first).

    11. There is no need for such a Consitutional Amendment because Congress has no such power in the first place! Seriously its like people are unfamiliar with the Constitution. Article 1, Section 8. Read it!

  3. Did they have a warrant?

    1. I thought the same. How the fuck could they get a warrant in 10 minutes?

      “Show me the search warrant or get the fuck off my property.”

      1. It’s not like getting a warrant is so hard to do.

        1. I agree – but to get the warrant and arrive 10 minutes after she died?

          1. Right, I agree!

            Why couldn’t they just go get a warrant?

            They could call it in and have it ready by the time they got there. I think it’s pretty rare that a cop gets turned down for a search warrant–so why couldn’t they spend the extra ten minutes it takes to respect this man’s rights?

            1. What would be probable cause for suspicion of illegal activity that would justify a warrant?

              1. I’m not saying what the REAL problem is, but if I were the cop, I’d say that the suspect was believed to possess prescription narcotics without a prescription.

              2. That’s what I was wondering. What does the law say here? Does the guy technically become a criminal as soon as his wife dies? Do the pills become his property?

                These are all stupid questions that shouldn’t need to be asked, but that’s where “controlled substances” gets us.

                1. Zeb, the comments to the story Raston Bot posted, someone who claims to know the dead woman said the pills were her mother’s and in her purse because the mother often forgot them when leaving the house. Two pain pills.

                  I’m surprised they didn’t bust the husband.

                2. According to the DEA (if I am reading it right) the husband would have been the caregiver and they would have passed into his control upon her death. He would have to contact the DEA (via phone or form) to notify them of the controlled substance and they would give him the option of taking them to a DEA-registered office to surrender them or to destroy them in the presence of a DEA approved person. The police had no right to be there to take the prescription since he was the caregiver and had every right to posses those drugs – even after the wife’s death.

                3. Just think about the fact that they’re trying to make carbon dioxide a controlled substance. Should they ever succeed, talk about carte blanche to do anything to anyone anytime they please. What a wonderful thing for the cr?me de la cr?me of the socialist engineering elite! For the rest of us, not so great.

    2. Mahaffey asked Vernal city officials and police administrators why officers would search his home without a warrant. He said he was told the Utah Controlled Substances Act provides authority for the search.

      They passed a law saying they don’t need one, see? They can simply nullify the Fourth Amendment that way, apparently.

      1. So I guess the Utah Controlled Substances Act trumps the Fourth Amendment!

        1. It comes from the special Mormon powers and Magic Underwear.

      2. Let me give a crack at what they were thinking. Dead people don’t have rights. So when a person dies, they no longer have a right to privacy. And their pain pills might end up in the hands of the childrenz. So, the police can go in and retrieve this contraband. And since she is dead and no longer is protected under the 4th Amendment, her grieving husband’s rights…

        Ah fuck. They are just fucking unthinking assholes. And I will give you ten to one that at least some of those pills ended up feeding some roided out cops pill habit.

        1. If I rent a room in my house to a tenant, and the tenant consents to a search, that doesn’t give the police the right to search areas of the house that the tenant doesn’t lease.

          TBH, I wonder if the cops can even enter my house without MY consent (or PC or a warrant, of course).

          1. Absent exigent circumstances like pursuing a fleeing armed felon who runs in your house, no.

            In the renter case, if you live there, you have a right to turn the police down, period. The sticky part comes when you let the police in. In some cases you don’t have a right to do that and some you do.

            This guy was the sole occupant of the house since his wife died. They couldn’t enter without a warrant or his permission.

            1. What if they get a warrant to search his room only? Do I have to let them walk through my private areas to get to the room?

              This is interesting.

              1. If they have a warrant, yes you do have to provide them ingress and egress. The real interesting case is when they show up without a warrant and ask you for permission to search the room and you give it to them. Is the search valid? Depends.

                1. I would think it isn’t valid, since the tenant has a limited, but not nonexistent, type of property right to the room.

                  1. It depends on access. If the person is just living in a spare room with no lock, then it probably will be valid. If the room has a lock and the owner of the house is not allowed in there without permission of the person, than it would be invalid. It is very fact specific.

    3. I’m pretty sure that the Supreme Court has ruled that they don’t need a warrant. Or at least that you can’t challenge the cops while they are doing things that are illegal. You can sue them later if you have the money for a lawyer, but the cops can do whatever the fuck they want.

      1. The New Professionalism!

    4. If they come on and seize a substance the owner can’t have, then what’s the downside of it being an illegal search? They can’t use the evidence in court, but they don’t have to hand the drugs back, either. And they get to break down doors and waive guns around.

      At worst, they get a paid vacation for a few days.

  4. Vernal City Manager Ken Bassett should smoke a pistol.

    1. He’s too busy licking boots.

      1. Well when he’s finished with that he knows what common decency requires of him.

  5. Amazing how times have changed.

    about 20 years ago I used to be a Courier in and around Boston. One of our contracts was with the Metrowest Hospice pharmacy, mostly delivering drugs to dying patients.

    Multiple times we had drivers attempt to deliver Moraphine to a grieving family who signed the delivery reciept before telling the driver their loved one had just died leaving the driver holding the Moraphine.

    No cops or anything were involved.

    1. Yeah, well, people weren’t dying like flies from ‘scrip drugs then like they are now, right?
      I mean, there must be some sort of crisis to allow stinking cops to pull this shit.

  6. How the fuck did they even know there were pain meds there? Unless there is a state law specifically requiring that the local PD be informed of the prescribing and dispensing of pain meds, telling them would be a violation of federal (and likely state) privacy laws.

    1. My first guess would be the hospice.

      You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.

      1. Probably this. There’s likely some language in the hospice contract that stipulates the drugs remain in their technical possession even when the patient is at home. The hospice is probably required by the terms of their state license to inform LE of oatient deaths so unused meds can be returned to inventory in some way. But sending police? This is competely rotten. Probably lawful, because the patient or her family likely signed rights away without reading the contract fully. Fuck the state for requiring these kind of terms too.

        1. unused meds can be returned to inventory

          The drugs aren’t “returned to inventory”.
          Unused meds would be destroyed. It is(used to be?) a common scam for people to use the obits to go to the home of the deceased and collect unused medications “for patients who can’t afford them”. The drugs would then be used or sold by the fake (or sometimes not) “hospice worker”.

          1. By “returned to inventory” I meant something like “accounted for.” I assumed the state has a special law about nercotic drugs that requires a hospice to account for all doses.

            1. Correct. Also, there’s another bunch of names on that RX bottle:

              1) The RX’ing physician’s (like say, me)

              2) The pharmacist filling the RX (they have liability concerns too.

              3) The manufacturer.

              Like it or not, that PERMISSION SLIP!! (I am really starting to dislike that term), is a voluntary contract b’twixt prescriber and patient, and the RX’ing physician has every moral, legal, and medical right to assume that the meds are being accounted for and used as per dr. orders, and disposed according to existing law.

              Let the othering and pelting of tomatoes and rubbish commence.

              1. The doctor prescribing the medication is using a government sanctioned cartel to force a patient to go to a doctor to get medical advice prior to getting the drugs.

                The person dispensing this advice (in effect at gunpoint) doesn’t have any ownership of said drugs. There isn’t any contract at all.

                1. The gunpoint is directed at the patient, BTW, as can be made clear if the patient skips seeing the doctor and pharmacist and goes to a free market drug dispenser (aka a “drug dealer”).

                  And you are confusing “powers” with “rights”. Your power to make someone an unwilling customer of your cartel is not remotely a natural right.

                  1. The gunpoint is directed at the patient, BTW, as can be made clear if the patient skips seeing the doctor and pharmacist and goes to a free market drug dispenser (aka a “drug dealer”).

                    No smoking gun here, protefeed. If the insurance company (or any other third party paying for said care. Ever heard of a “co-pay”?) is paying for your care, they have every moral, legal, and fiduciary right in your care. The only thing I care about is if you avail yourself of other means, tell me, as I the physician have the moral and legal right to know what you do with your health as a prereq of agreeing to TX you.

                    And you are confusing “powers” with “rights”. Your power to make someone an unwilling customer of your cartel is not remotely a natural right.

                    The physician does not have a right to self-ownership of his or her practice, skills, and mitigation of risk?

                2. Wrong. None of patients (barring medical emergency when unable to communicate, then “implied consent” laws kick in) were/are forced to obtain my services.

                  I’m not dunphy: You can walk away at any time and I can’t stop you.

                  Also, you don’t have to either buy or take them. It’s all voluntary.

                  1. Groovus, one of Thomas Szasz’s main critiques of psychiatry was that the nature of the relationship between psychiatrists and the state was such that it is fundamentally impossible to have an open, honest, good-faith relationship with a psychiatrist. I would say this translates pretty closely to all drs. What are your thoughts on that? That is to say, no one is forced to obtain your services, but since everyone knows he’s operating in an environment where it’s impossible to get treatment or substances without dealing with the state or a quasi-agent of the state, you go into a dr-patient relationship with the assumption that you can’t completely act in good faith. I mean, probably most non-anarchists aren’t actively thinking about this, but I am.

                    1. Nicole! I though you othered me! I am glad I am mistaken.

                      In terms of psychiatry proper, that is another argument, and I am not a psychiatrist, but I do have some opinion on that.

                      However, as a surgeon who cares very much about the PX levels of his patients (and I was/am known for being very liberal in his RX’ing of PX meds), this why I argue so vehemently against government intervention in medical care.

                      I am terrified of the DEA. In UKR, that risk is lessened, but I do have worry about the Ministry of Health and Interpol now.

                      My concerns are these:

                      1) The health and well-being of my patients. Full stop.

                      2) That I can provided the enviroment where they can be totally honest without recrimination and harm. If they can’t be honest with me, I’m useless. It is a relationship, not unlike, say, marriage.

                      3) I want patients to be as free as possible to TX themselves (surgery is one of those areas of medicine that requires another actor, and admittedly one of the factors why I chose it).

                      4) As much mitigation of my personal and professional liability as possible, an expression of my self-ownership.

                    2. If they can’t be honest with me, I’m useless. It is a relationship, not unlike, say, marriage.

                      Yes, totally, and it’s what I find very frustrating. I mean, I was mostly curious because this prevents me from seeing doctors except in very rare circumstances, and I would imagine that thoughtful, non-egomaniacal doctors don’t really like it because they know it’s fucking up their job too.

                      As SF says, I hate the game, not the player, so I don’t other you. After all, the government is encroaching on you as well if medicine is your desired profession (I mean, obviously, since you left!).

                    3. I would imagine that thoughtful, non-egomaniacal doctors don’t really like it because they know it’s fucking up their job too.

                      We are grossly outnumbered worldwide, nicole. International drug treatise sees to that, unfortunately.

                      And this is not limited to drs., by the by. Registered Nurses and the Nursing Guild had WAY much more pull than docs WRT to ObamneyCare, for the simple reasons that:

                      A) They are more of them. Also, mostly women and women skew towards centralized medical, Single Payer care.

                      B) Nurses have limited scope of practice, and they very much resent it, never mind those limitations are precisely why their malpractice rates are peanuts compared to mine.

                      Restricted scope of practice == less areas to fuck up, and easier to pinpoint whence they happen == lower professional risk.

                  2. I’m not dunphy: You can walk away at any time and I can’t stop you.

                    No, you can’t stop me from leaving; you and your fellow cartel members can merely deprive me of access to medicine I need to survive and which I can pay for. To claim this does not make any agreement “under duress” is ridiculous.

                    1. No, you can’t stop me from leaving; you and your fellow cartel members can merely deprive me of access to medicine I need to survive and which I can pay for. To claim this does not make any agreement “under duress” is ridiculous.

                      100% self-ownership is a double-edged sword, Tulpa. Pick it up and swing wisely. You don’t have right to put a gun to my head and make me TX you, John Q style. Or are you MNG now?

                    2. What if I don’t want TX or XX or BX or whatever? What if I just want a permission slip to get the medicine I need?

                    3. What if I don’t want TX or XX or BX or whatever? What if I just want a permission slip to get the medicine I need?

                      I will do so and take the risk for you, Tulpa. I may dislike your chronic case of obstinance and pedantry, but I do care about you as a patient and person, and do everything in my power to fulfill your request.

                      This is also why I have been on record for years here supporting RX authority for both pharmacists and ARNP’s, as well as physician’s assistants.

                    4. Well it sucks that you’re in Ukraine now. I could use some vicodin for my blue balls.

                3. The doctor prescribing the medication is using a government sanctioned cartel to force a patient to go to a doctor to get medical advice prior to getting the drugs.

                  Mitigation of liability of every party involved in the RX of medication.

                  The person dispensing this advice (in effect at gunpoint) doesn’t have any ownership of said drugs. There isn’t any contract at all.

                  See initial answer below to this. To quote nicole, “You don’t have to drink orange juice.”

                  1. “You don’t have to drink orange juice.”

                    No. But I still question the legitimacy of a law that says I need a Doctor’s permission to drink orange juice.

                  2. ^^The initial answer is @ 1:13^^

                    1. Do you mean to me, or to Zeb?

                    2. Do you mean to me, or to Zeb?

                      protefeed.-)

                    3. Damn, y’all. Hate the game, not the player.

                  3. Mitigation of liability of every party involved in the RX of medication.

                    Oh come on. It’s amazing pharmacists and pharma companies push for their drugs to become OTC when they lose the wonderful liability-destroying that comes from requiring a prescription.

                    Requiring a prescription is only done to control the distribution of drugs and to allow most doctors (probably not you) to stroke their God complex boner.

                    1. Oh come on. It’s amazing pharmacists and pharma companies push for their drugs to become OTC when they lose the wonderful liability-destroying that comes from requiring a prescription.

                      They don’t have property rights?

                      Requiring a prescription is only done to control the distribution of drugs and to allow most doctors (probably not you) to stroke their God complex boner.

                      Wrong Tulpa, and if you wish to have said prick waving contest over this one, I assure you I will win (and no, I don’t have a God complex. Residency beat that out of me quickly).

                      It is risk mitigation of all parties involved in the manufacture and distribution of pharma. This is why I also argue for “loser pays” absent a discrete licensing or professional certification system in place.

              2. Once the patient pays for the drugs, shouldn’t they be the patient’s to keep/do with as he pleases?

                1. Once the patient pays for the drugs, shouldn’t they be the patient’s to keep/do with as he pleases?

                  If my name is on that bottle, Ted, I get say so in what is done with them. Full stop.

                  1. What if I take your name off the bottle?

                    1. What if I take your name off the bottle?

                      You are in violation of the contract you made with me, and the RX number (and DEA number if a controlled substance) is still traced to the provider. Also, my dr.’s notes and insurance co. paperwork (and your medical records, which are my property) will reflect whatever RX/TX I prescribe. I still have standing for those property rights in writing. With your voluntary consent, I might add.

                  2. You guys are arguing past each other. Groovus points out that with the prescription system in place, he had a right to mitigate the risks associated with medicines he prescribes. I agree.
                    Everyone else seems to be arguing that the purchase of the medicine should not require a prescription, thus making the job of doctors to recommend, rather than prescribe treatments. I also agree.

                    I would guess that groovus doesn’t disagree with that point, but i can’t speak for him. However Dr’s who support the prescription system are assholes who are using the threat of government force to push people who want or need medicinesinto their offices.

                    1. Correct, Leroy, though I add the caveat that there are a few that, IMMO, a few need to be in the purview of RX. A-numero uno in that list: Antibiotics (and I can make a convincing case for this at another time, I have to hit the sack now.-)

                      PX meds (including scheduled drugs) are not on that list.

                    2. I’m several hours late to this conversation, but I want to reiterate that antibiotics should definitely be restricted to prescription. It’s bad enough that half the patients we admit need to be on isolation precautions for MRSA, VRSA, VRE, and ESBL. I’ll even go a step further then Dr. G; I think antibiotics should only be administered inpatient. It’s the rampant failure on the part of the patients to complete a full antibiotic course that produces drug-resistant organisms.

      2. Your second and third guesses should be the hospice as well.

        In addition to police, a mortician and a hospice worker arrived at the home about 12:45 a.m., Mahaffey said. He said he doesn’t know how police came to be there.

        Mahaffey’s lawyer says that the pseudo-raid on the elderly couple’s home is “common practice for Vernal police when someone dies

        Obviously the hospice has decided they have a role as narcotics “gatekeepers”.

        1. Or they are junkies. I wonder what the police are doing with the seized meds?

          1. I thought in yesterdays dependency thread (government handouts not drugs) we determined that the cops were trading them for sex.

          2. I wonder what the police are doing with the seized meds?

            Whatever they want. It’s not like the law applies to them.

            1. My speculation is they were returned to a hospice worker (or some other “authority”) for destruction…by metabolizing them one dose at a time.

              1. I’m sure they keep some to plant on dirtbags that are obviously guilty of something but have nothing on them.
                A few would be pocketed for personal use.
                They might even use them for undercover work by giving them to someone who they then turn around and bust.

              2. I don’t suspect that because that would be sleazy. Sleaziness is well within the range of normal human behavior. What they did here was inhumane. I easily see them confiscating, then turning the pills over to a second authority responsible for their accounting, and the pills being turned over to locked stock of such pills being taken out of circulation because that is the kind of things sociopathic monsters working in concert with one another without a wiff of conscience do. Ripping off a grief stricken spouse, no, that is what a human does.

                1. Ripping off a grief stricken spouse, no, that is what a human does.

                  Cops are not human.

                  1. My point exactly.

        2. “Obviously the hospice has decided they have a role as narcotics “gatekeepers”.

          For all we know, they may be required to inform the police in certain cases by Utah Controlled Substances Act.

          If they release a patient to die at home with more prescription narcotics than may be necessary, the police may have threatened to prosecute them in those cases unless they inform the police.

          i.e., it’s probably a legal or criminal liability for them. They may not have much choice. That’s what a lot of the Drug War is: we continuously decide to criminalize recreational drug use, and so a lot of the rest of our decisions are made for us. It’s not a bunch of bad decisions–it’s just one. And the rest is like a train wreck in slow motion.

          1. If Utah law required it we’d be hearing about more cases outside of Vernal.

            1. Maybe other communities have just had the sense to not raid the homes of grieving family members?

    2. I sprained my ankle in December and the doctor prescribed me some vicodin. When I went to the pharmacy they made me give my driver’s license information. I would bet there’s something similar in Utah.

  7. f’ing P.O.S. thugs. every single one of them.

  8. What no cavity search? Drug users commonly conceal contraband in orifices. Now stand back Mr. grieving husband.

  9. The same thing happened when my father died. The police and the EMTs got there at the same time, and the cops directed one of the EMTs to rummage the kitchen and bathroom and take anything in a prescription bottle.

    Only my aunt was there and she didn’t say boo.

    1. My condolences. I wonder how much they sold the drugs for?

      1. There would have been a fair amount of Vicodin, but the rest of it was run-of-the-mill heart medications.

        I don’t know if it’s just my small hometown (and their overlarge police force), but the police always show up when you call an ambulance.

        1. It pains me to hear that, Saccharin Man. I’m sorry.

          1. Years ago now. I just remembered that it happened while reading this. I think mortuary attendants are empowered to seized scrip meds as well.

            1. They are in OK (and in UKR as well).

  10. Does he get paid for selling the drugs back to the the hospice…

  11. Sompe people really suck.

  12. He said he doesn’t know how police came to be there.

    There’s a mystery which will never be solved.

    He’s lucky the pigs didn’t hold him at bay with guns drawn while they forced the mortician to draw a blood sample to be checked for intentional overdosing.

  13. Barack Obama makes the following offer….

    That’s a great deal, if you believe
    All Rights are Granted by the State.

    I don’t.

  14. Sloopy posted a maddening drug war casualty in the AM comments:

    http://kfor.com/2013/01/07/pre…..s-in-jail/

    Hospital staff reported Jamie wouldn’t cooperate, in too much pain to even lie down, so employees asked a Pauls Valley police officer to assist.

    Unfortunately, when police found two prescription pills that didn’t belong to Jamie, police took her to jail for drug possession.

    Sheriff Rhodes points out the hospital staff authorized Jamie’s release to their custody.

    The state medical examiner’s office confirms Jamie died from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, where an embryo implants outside the uterus.

    1. If her family killed everyone involved, I would contribute to their legal defense fund.

    2. I think it’s premature to pass judgment on the hospital before all the facts are out, as all of the information in the article seems to have come from the family and the sheriff’s department. That being said, I’m not understanding exactly why someone should be taken immediately to jail for possession of two prescription pills that aren’t prescribed to them. If anything, they should have confiscated the pills, charged her with a crime, and done nothing else. It certainly doesn’t look good on the hospital and its staff, though. I’m sure they will have a lawsuit filed and would be interested in knowing how that turns out.

  15. What amazes (or confuses) me about the whole pain pill thing is the inconsistency. I know people (old people, who need it) who get 1000s of mgs of oxycodone every month with very little hassle. And a friend who was given like 40 dilaudid pills after surgery when he had only asked for a few days worth (and they originally wanted to just give him Vicodin). But then there is shit like this.

  16. Obviously the hospice has decided they have a role as narcotics “gatekeepers”.

    Or perhaps the DEA has informed them they “may” be subject to an audit if they do not take their responsibilities seriously.

    1. If the DEA was involved this would be a “dog bites man” story.

    2. It appears this is the State of Utah, though, not the DEA.

  17. I’ve always figured that I’d run afoul of this in some dumb way:

    218A.210 Controlled substances may be possessed only in original container–Penalties.

    (1) A person to whom or for whose use any controlled substance has been prescribed, sold, or dispensed, by a practitioner or other person authorized under this chapter, may lawfully possess it only in the container in which it was delivered to him by the person selling or dispensing the same.

    (2) Violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class A misdemeanor for subsequent offenses.

    I keep my daily pills in a 7-day pill sorter. I am committing a Class B misdemeanor. I always have a morning’s worth in my lunch bag in case I forget to take them before leaving work. Another Class B misdemeanor. I keep a dose of migraine medicine in my desk at work, just in case. Class B misdemeanor number 3. I have a pre-drawn insulin needle for my lunch dose. Class B misdemeanor number 4.

    1. No, actually, you’re not, Saccharin Man, as you are the one taking the meds, as RX’d to you. You are being compliant in your daily admin of meds. When someone else takes them, then you have breached the law.

      Otherwise, every dr., nurse, pharmacist and other licensed medpro is guilty of this as well, and even selling those containers would be illegal and actionable.

      1. You need to read the legalese more carefully. In Kentucky even the prescribee must keep them in the labelled prescription bottle.

        A person to whom or for whose use any controlled substance has been prescribed, sold, or dispensed, by a practitioner or other person authorized under this chapter, may lawfully possess it only in the container in which it was delivered to him by the person selling or dispensing the same.

        It’s some fucked up shit. I doubt they arrest many people for it, but they can if they want to.

        The law also exempts medpros.

        1. OK does not have such legal languange, and I am pretty sure UKR doesn’t either, but the pharma laws here are much more relaxed than the USA. Import duties on certain meds and manufacturers, OTOH are proving to be somewhat of a headache.

          That legalese makes sense with storage, like say a pharmacy keeping a given drug on hand to maintain the veracity of the drug being what it is claimed to be (barring an unethical pharmacy or provider).

          It is fucked up law, but then, these laws are designed to be selectively enforced, therefore immoral. Medpros, however, should be exempted, as licensing allows for the justification of the exemption, since that licensing (n theory) makes detecting funny business and identifying the source easier, thus mitigating liability concerns. Otherwise, my at times nearly impossible to do job now becomes impossible to do.

          1. It reads like a “probable cause” law. On a cursory “plain sight” search or oh-so-necessary stop and frisk, you find a pill. Since no matter what it is you have to investigate if it is breaking this law, you get warrants to tear someone’s life apart. And even if you find nothing and they prove it is a legal prescription, you still have something to charge them with to shutdown abuse-of-authority complaints.

            1. You can beat the charge but you can’t beat the ride.

        2. That is how it is in a lot of states. This morning in the AM links Sloopy linked to a case in Oklahoma where a pregnant woman was found in an emergency room with two pain pills not in a bottle and was arrested for it and later died in jail.

          1. I will research that case later, as I am not familiar with case. I can find out a lot of stuff about it though.

            That is inexcusable and I will not defend that practice.

        3. Having carefully read all the fine print and researching the class A controlled drugs I’m prescribed it is my opinion that you’re correct.

          And it doesn’t take a great deal of consideration to realize that packing around a large quantity of medications in situations where they could easily fall into the wrong hands is not wise, and could possibly even leave one legally liable should a thief, or a finder, O.D possibly dying.

          To get around this, I just place the smallest amount I may need in one of the empty prescription bottles for that same substance, leaving the rest in the original locked up at home.

    2. You’re gangster.

      1. I try to get my pants to sag, but they just keep falling down. 🙁

    3. Are your daily pill controlled substances? A lot of prescriptions aren’t.

      1. One is, but if you notice, the law states any prescription is subject and does not restrict it to controlled substances.

        1. Wait, sorry, I didn’t read the preamble correctly. You are right.

          But I still break the law three times.

  18. One more reason to not live in an incorporated area. There is no way to isolate yourself from the county, state and feds, but problems with one additional level of government is easy to fix.

    1. You can get away from county too in Alaska where. But then you are in Alaska and far away form everything.

  19. Barack Obama makes the following offer

    Right there you got me to “hell, no”. Anything that statist proposes is a bad deal for anyone who likes liberty.

    1. Because a war on guns would be so much preferable to a war on drugs.

  20. I don’t know about Utah, but under NY & Federal law, once those pills are legally in your household, you and everyone else in that household are allowed to possess them indefinitely. It doesn’t matter whether the person or animal for whom it was originally prescribed still lives in that household or not.

  21. Who says government is inefficient?

  22. I’m not 100% sure what point Groovus thinks he’s arguing.

    If you think I have property of yours in my residence, and you think I won’t give it back, you get to bring a civil action. You don’t get to walk into my house.

    It’s also definitely not appropriate for the police to intervene in a dispute over the meaning of a contract or the timing of the return of leased property (since you appear to be claiming that the prescription itself is a contract).

    And I’m looking at a prescription bottle right now and I don’t see anything on it requiring me to return it to the doctor. I didn’t buy it from the doctor, first of all – I bought it from a pharmacist. How the doctor can enjoy an enforceable property interest in property he has never owned and did not sell to me is something you’d need to elaborate on. You can’t have rights analogous to those of a lessor if you never owned the property in the first place.

    1. Two words: Licensing and liability. For. Every. Single. RX. I. Write.

      I am responsible for that med and RX, how you use it, and what happens to it at the behest of: The Guild, the insurance company underwriting me, pharma company, your third party payer. If you decide to give away your Oxy’s that Dr. Groovus wrote for you, then you gave to someone who is not you. All of this is either directly or indirectly actionable. The pharmacist, as of now, cannot fill an RX without an MD/DO, DNP, ARNP, CRNA, DDS, PA, or any other practitioner with RX authority (where allowed by STATE, not fedgov law).

      I’m a directly interested party and can be held directly actionable and acting as proxy of a given pharma co. And yes, that RX IS a contract whether you self-pay, use private insurance, or avail yourself of public assistance or entitlement. Your name and my name is on it. In writing. Much like an abortion: Don’t like ’em, don’t have ’em. Same with medical care.

      The reason why they need to be in the labelled container is to quickly identify the meds should the need arise. If you, wise and all-knowing Fluffy, can look at ANY med and instantly know what it is, then you should be a the best SOD-damned pharmacist on this here earth.

      I will continue this conversation tomorrow if you wish, I have to go to bed.

  23. And all the questions about the death of the wife suddenly putting the husband in possession of her pills illegally are absurd.

    The pills are part of the wife’s estate.

    It’s like claiming that if a child pornographer dies everybody in the building he’s in instantly becomes the “possessor” of child porn. It’s ridiculous.

    Unless the husband had the pills in his pocket and left the residence, he is totally clear on a possession charge until the wife’s will goes through probate court, even in a joint property state.

  24. You guys are *way* over-thinking this one. Based on the information presented here (“Mahaffey’s lawyer says that the pseudo-raid on the elderly couple’s home is ‘common practice for Vernal police when someone dies, but that it’s selectively applied.’) the most obvious answer is that someone at city hall is running a drug ring. They’re confiscating the drugs for resale on the street.

    1. Finally someone who gets it. The rest of these comments are incredibly naive.

  25. Police state. Nothing good about it.

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