Pocopson Home nurse charged with drug theft

Coatesville resident alleged to have forged paperwork

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times


Carolyn Howett

POCOPSON — A Coatesville woman was charged Tuesday with taking narcotics from the Pocopson Home.

Carolyn Howett, 36, who had worked as a licensed practical nurse at the Chester County-owned senior care facility for about 15 years was charged with taking 26 Zolpidem pills and a vial of morphine. The drugs, authorities said, had been prescribed to a patient in April who subsequently died later that month.

Pocopson Home protocols call for such drugs to be destroyed after a patient dies, but authorities said that instead Howett forged paperwork and took the drugs home to her Coatesville apartment, later found there during a June warrant search of her home, police said.

The investigation started when Pocopson Home administrators noticed that morphine and other drugs were were missing earlier this year. They asked the Chester County Detectives to investigate.

As the investigation continued, authorities said that they learned that drugs were reportedly being sold out of Howlett’s Saginaw Drive apartment. On that basis, they were able to get a search warrant, which was executed on June 5. Detectives said they found the vial of morphine — and were able to match the serial number. Additionally, they said, 26 Zolpidem (sold typically as the sleep aid brand Ambien) were found in a baggie in Howlett’s bedroom closet.

Howett was charged with theft, acquisition of controlled substances by fraud, forgery, and related offenses. She was arrested Tuesday by Chester County Detectives.

“Nursing is a noble profession, dedicated to caring for sick and disabled patients,” Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a statement. “This defendant betrayed her profession, her employer, and her patients by stealing drugs. She does not deserve to serve as a nurse ever again.”

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