Pain pills stolen from Mayo Clinic patients

Clinic replaced prescription medication for 8 patients

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An investigation into missing narcotics at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville shows a variety of nearly 300 prescription pain pills are gone.

The medication was stolen from eight people going through the clinic's pain rehab center program.

"It's a pain management program, and what they do is try to (wean) you off and show you different techniques that you can do to manage your pain without taking pills," said one patient who didn't want to be identified who had his medication stolen.

He said as part of the program, the patients bring in their pain pills from home.

"One morning when we came in, they sat us down with a meeting and told us someone had been in and taken all the narcotic pills out of the cabinet, and they are doing an internal investigation and that they are going to replace everybody's pills that had been taken," he said.

A Mayo Clinic employee told police this is an ongoing internal investigation and the hospital wanted this incident documented "until more information becomes available," according to a police report.

The Mayo Clinic's communications manager, Kevin Punsky, said in a statement the pills that are missing were in a cabinet that patients, visitors and employees had access to.

Channel 4 crime analyst Ken Jefferson said people addicted to pain medication will do just about anything to get it.

"In order for these pills to come up missing, several people had to know where they were, know how accessible they were, and they will go to great lengths to get them," Jefferson said. "If the cabinet is locked, they will break into the cabinet. If it's unlocked, they'll just go in at their leisure."

The hospital replaced the medication that was taken. The couple of patients who spoke to Channel 4 said they got all of their pills back, just in a different bottle.

A hospital employee discovered the medication was missing April 30 and filed a police report the next day.

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