Troy, Missouri, authorities responded to reports of possible opioid abuse after a woman attempted to fill her terminally ill daughter’s pain medication prescription ahead of schedule. She admitted to stealing her daughter’s medications and having an addiction to opioids.
How can addiction affect a person’s behavior?
Pain Medication Theft
Last Sept. 10, Troy, Missouri, police officers responded to the Troy Family Practice over reports of possible drug offense and patient abuse. Medical staff at the facility called authorities because of a terminally ill 20-year-old patient they called CM, whose mother, Carol Ballweg, had requested for her Oxycodone and Fentanyl prescriptions earlier than scheduled on several occasions. They also advised officers that they found bed sores on CM and that there was already an ongoing investigation on the matter by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).
Evidently, because of the concerns regarding CM’s care, particularly regarding her not receiving her pain medications, her doctor requested for a urine test just days before on Sept. 7 and found no traces of the prescribed drugs in her system. It was also determined that CM’s home health provider had also made several complaints regarding her medication issues.
On Sept. 11, officers secured a search warrant for Ballweg’s address, and she eventually admitted to stealing her daughter’s medications for herself and to having opioid addiction. Ballweg, who is CM’s primary care provider, is now facing four counts of Stealing a Controlled Substance and two counts of Abuse of Elderly, Disabled, or Vulnerable Person.
“The Honorable Judge Allsberry set bond at $100,000 cash only and upon release is to have no contact with the victim,” Troy, Missouri, Police Department notes.
Addiction is a chronic condition characterized by drug-seeking behavior that is compulsive and difficult to control even if it leads to harmful consequences. It often starts with voluntary drug use but in time and with repeated drug use leads to brain changes that affect a person’s self-control and impulse issues.
A person with substance addiction becomes less interested in other pleasurable things they once enjoyed such as food, socialization, and sex and will instead continue to seek the “high” they got from the first time they took the drugs. However, as time goes by, the brain adapts to the drug and develops tolerance, causing the person to take more of it in hopes of replicating that first high.
Substance abuse is a complex condition that may lead to social impairments that are harmful to work, school, and personal obligations and may cause the patient to compulsively seek out the source of their addiction even if it may already cause them harm.
As taxing as the condition may be for the patient as well as friends and family members, substance abuse is treatable with behavioral therapy, addiction medications, and support.