DEA investigates theft of opioid drugs at VA hospital in SLC

Posted at 8:27 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 08:41:01-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Authorities are investigating an alleged theft of opioid drugs at the Salt Lake City VA Health Care System by a former pharmacist, the Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed Wednesday.

Chris Young is accused of stealing 6,960 controlled substance tablets and 25 vials of testosterone between Sept. 2, 2014 and March 3, 2015, according to a report from the VA.

A memo released to FOX 13 News Wednesday, detailed a compiled report from individuals concerned over how the alleged theft investigation was handled.

Complainants in the memo included current and former VA staffers as well as those who had recently died. The report also included names and contact information of individuals they believed to be responsible.

The irregularities in drugs at the facility was first noticed on March 25, 2015, when a pharmacist technician noticed an extra prescription bottle of Methylphenidate, otherwise known as Ritalin, the report indicates.

According to the report, the technician made a report and an internal investigation found Young was allegedly filling false prescriptions for fake patients.

The investigation showed user “00,” later identified as Young, allegedly filled medications for Peter Rose, a baseball player accused of cheating, and Ansel Adams, a famous photographer.

The report states other names used were those of fake patients inside the VA system.

The incident report included a memorandum from the VA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Health of Operations and Management.

The memo states Young was able steal the drugs due to improper software that was being used and not recommended by the Chief Consultant for the Department of Veteran Affairs.

The SLC VA’s director of communication Jill Atwood responded with this statement:

 As soon as we became aware of irregularities in prescription distribution we immediately notified the Inspector General and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) who are now working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The VA Salt Lake City Health Care System has since cooperated fully with the investigation. Clearly, we regret that this diversion occurred. Please know that we moved aggressively after discovery to put the proper safe guards in place to include procedural changes, new software and additional training to ensure something like this does not happen again.

Atwood also said Young no longer employed with at the VA. Young was hired at the VA in 1994. Officials say he had no previous issues.

No arrests have been made and no charges have been filed at this time.