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Narcotics missing from North Summit ambulance

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Twenty milligrams of morphine are missing from an ambulance in Coalville, authorities say.

"It would probably be a lot for one person to take all at one time," Summit County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Sherm Farnsworth said.

Though paramedics keep drugs "under lock and key," Farnsworth explains that ambulances left parked for long periods of time become "easy targets" for thieves.

"Any time you have a controlled substance the temptation is always there," Farnsworth said, adding that detectives are investigating suspects in the case.

North Summit Emergency Medical Services manager Eric Hales suspects the theft could have been an inside job.

"You would assume that you would have to know how we operate," Hales said. "It was noticed missing during a response."

A North Summit paramedic realized the morphine had been stolen when he attempted to administer the drug to a patient roughly two weeks ago, he added.

Morphine is an opiate-based narcotic similar to OxyContin or heroin, Hales said, adding that the drug is a powerful painkiller.

"But if you have an addict, it is probably not the drug of choice," he said.

Depending on the condition of the patient, paramedics usually administer morphine doses between two and four milligrams, Hales said.

Around the time the narcotics were noticed missing ambulance crews reportedly drew a crowd responding to a medical call at Echo reservoir.

The narcotics may have been stolen then, Hales said.


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