Hospital worker caught using fake prescription

Andrew Phelan

A HOSPITAL careworker found his job so traumatic he became addicted to valium after being prescribed the drug to deal with stress, a court heard.

Conor O'Neill (37) was arrested when he was caught trying to use a forged prescription to get more of the drug at a Dublin pharmacy.

Judge Timothy Lucey fined him €150 after he admitted the offence at Dublin District Court.

O'Neill, of Captain's Avenue, Crumlin, pleaded guilty to possession of the forgery at McLoughlin's Pharmacy, Drimnagh Road, on October 5 last.

The court heard he went to the chemist at 5.40pm and tried to buy the medication. Staff became suspicious and informed gardai.

The accused was co-operative when questioned. The court heard he had a previous conviction for a drugs offence, but this was also related to valium.

He had no part in the forgery of the document, but had been given it by a friend, his solicitor Stephen O'Mahony said.

The defendant had developed an addiction to valium while he was a careworker at St James's Hospital three years ago. He found it "very, very stressful and traumatic dealing with sick patients and didn't cope with the environment at all well".

The accused had been prescribed valium for a few weeks and after that was no longer medicated.

O'Neill had been off valium for a year but had been drinking before the latest incident and "temptation took its course", Mr O'Mahony said.

"It was a wake-up call for him and he hasn't fallen off the wagon since".