Editorials

News came late of painkiller’s removal from ambulances

The powerful painkiller Fentanyl was removed from local ambulances after “tampering” was discovered.
The powerful painkiller Fentanyl was removed from local ambulances after “tampering” was discovered. Provided

There are a number of bothersome details that emerged from the recent stories about the extremely potent painkiller fentanyl being removed from local ambulances.

The first is that it took so long for any details to emerge. The doctor in charge sent a letter in June demanding fentanyl supplies be removed from ambulances and an accounting be made of every use for the past two years. The Illinois Department of Public Health wasn’t aware of the problem until Oct. 23, after a BND reporter started asking about the issue.

The second is what exactly “tampering” means. We now are told no infection or impurities made it into the supply, but was it watered down and left someone suffering? A Florida EMT was recently caught diluting fentanyl as a way of stealing it.

We imagine this was kept quiet because of the investigation, which includes the FBI. But there may be patients, potential patients, coworkers or other witnesses affected by the crime and resulting removal who should have known earlier and who may now come forward as a result of the disclosure.

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