Woman uses stolen and forged prescriptions to get pills after medical staff choke off supply

ByDonald L. Leech

Aug 23, 2022
A Taranaki woman has been convicted of stealing a handful of prescription forms and using them to obtain medication during multiple visits to the pharmacy.  (File photo)

Provided

A Taranaki woman has been convicted of stealing a handful of prescription forms and using them to obtain medication during multiple visits to the pharmacy. (File photo)

A Taranaki woman who stole a handful of prescription forms while her doctor’s back was turned, then tampered with them to mark more than 200 pills, told police she did so because staff at the health had “cut off” her from her own supply.

Karen Jennifer Pamela Hamilton’s fraudulent drug dealing began on April 1 this year when she attended a doctor’s appointment at Taranaki Base Hospital. Before leaving, the 43-year-old stole the prescription forms from the unsuspecting professional.

Later that day, she went to Robertson’s Pharmacy in Strandon and, using a fake prescription, obtained 30 Ritalin tablets.

On April 11, she returned to the pharmacy with another fake prescription, receiving another 30 Ritalin tablets.

Four days later, Hamilton went to the chemist’s warehouse in New Plymouth and emerged with 80 clonazepam tablets and 30 diazepam pills after using another forged slip.

On April 19, this time at Bell Block Pharmacy, she used one of the stolen scripts to obtain 60 tablets of clonazepam.

She also filled a script for 60 clonazepam at Eltham Pharmacy in April.

Karen Hamilton, 43, will be sentenced on November 14 in Hāwera District Court.

ANDY JACKSON/STUFF

Karen Hamilton, 43, will be sentenced on November 14 in Hāwera District Court.

The police summary of facts describes Hamilton as an outpatient at Te Whatu Ora Taranaki Mental Health Unit.

Clonazepam is a tranquilizer used to treat panic disorders and seizures, Ritalin is prescribed for people with ADHD, while diazepam, previously marketed as Valium, can be used to treat anxiety.

When questioned by police about the offence, Hamilton said she took the prescription forms “because she was annoyed that they weren’t giving her the drugs,” the summary of facts said.

She blamed hospital staff for her actions, saying they ‘cut her off’.

However, Hamilton knew she was wrong and was in a “bad headspace” at the time. Although she used most of the drugs herself, she provided some to friends, according to the summary of facts.

On Tuesday, she pleaded guilty and was found guilty of a charge of theft and five counts of using a false document when she appeared in Hāwera District Court.

Judge Gregory Hikaka has asked for a pre-sentence report to be completed on Hamilton ahead of his November 14 sentencing.

A referral to restorative justice was also made.