Victimless Crime File: Drug Addict Steals Pain Killers, Spreads Hepatitis C in Hospital

Hep C Addict Kristen Diane Parker

Libertarians are constantly claiming that people who get high are “only hurting themselves” so drug laws are unfair. As my Victimless Crime File category shows even people who are using drugs that aren’t addictive like marijuana (though pot is habit forming) often end up intruding on others’ lives in some fashion, sometimes criminally. When the argument is extended to other drugs the Libertarian theory on drug use becomes laughable as the case of Kristen Diane Parker illustrates:

DENVER — A surgery technician who infected about three dozen people with hepatitis C after she injected herself with painkiller-filled syringes and replaced them with ones filled with saline was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison.

Kristen Diane Parker received the sentence in federal court in Denver after pleading guilty to some of the charges in the case. Prosecutors had previously recommended that Parker get 20 years in prison but a judge rejected the plea agreement. Some of the victims said it was not enough time.

She was also ordered to pay $506,935 in restitution to the hospitals and $1,000 to the court-sponsored victims’ fund.

“This sentence is appropriate, and reflects the seriousness of Ms. Parker’s criminal conduct,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement after the sentencing. “Today’s sentence should truly send a message that there are very serious consequences for these types of actions.”

Parker, 27, had worked at the Rose Medical Center in Denver and the Audubon Surgery Center in Colorado Springs.

Parker, who said she got hepatitis C from using heroin, acknowledged that she took syringes filled with the painkiller Fentanyl from operating carts at the hospitals. She said she injected herself and replaced the stolen syringes with ones filled with saline. Parker said she meant to use clean replacement needles but got careless.

About 6,000 patients at the two hospitals may have been exposed to hepatitis C. About three dozen were infected.

By the way, Hepatitis C is pretty much a death sentence. Huffington Post has a longer piece about the woman that gives you a glimpse into the mind of the addict. Self-entitled, selfish, and completely unwilling to consider the consequences of her actions on others:

During a police interview videotaped June 30 that was played in court Thursday, the 26-year-old Parker told a detective that she kept dirty saline-filled syringes in her pocket and watched for opportunities when doctors and nurses left the room. She then allegedly stole syringes filled with Fentanyl from operating carts and replaced them with the used syringes.

“I didn’t want to make it obvious to everyone that I was using,” the 26-year-old Parker told the detective in the interview, saying she stole between 15 and 20 syringes of Fentanyl. “I knew my limit.”


Parker said she used between 100 to 250 micrograms of the drug each time, roughly enough medication for a 500-pound person, according to medical malpractice attorney Dr. Eric Steiner, a former cardiac anesthesiologist.

But like all users she had reasons for “needing” to get high:

Parker gave several reasons for using Fentanyl, which is a narcotic 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine: to deal with a custody battle with her ex-husband over her 2-year-old son; six-hour stretches of being on her feet; and back pain from the physical requirements of moving patients around the operating rooms.

She also said she had a problem with painkillers in the past and she may have gotten hepatitis C when she used heroin last summer while living in New Jersey.

Some of you pot smokers who come here claiming you “need to relax” probably sympathize with her. I say you shouldn’t need any substance to “relax” and that just thinking you require drug or alcohol to get by is an unhealthy relationship with drugs and alcohol.

And of course she has excuses as to why this is everyone else’s fault:

She tested positive for the disease before starting her job at Rose in October, but she didn’t follow up when told about it because she didn’t have health insurance or money for a doctor and she got distracted with her new job.

She also said hospital officials didn’t make it clear she tested positive. A federal magistrate judge disagreed and declared her a danger to the community and ordered her held without bond, saying her actions showed significant disregard for the safety of others.

Which she was because using was more important to her than whether or not she killed people. Since she was gainfully employed, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the reason she had no money was because she spent it on drugs.

The idea that drug use is a personal matter that will never affect others is a myth. Using it to promote policy is foolish. I am neither for or against decriminalization. What I am for is honesty about drug use. The Kristen Parkers of the world will burden society if we let them and the solution isn’t to pretend that changing the law will change how users behave.

h/t Crime Scene KC

6 thoughts on “Victimless Crime File: Drug Addict Steals Pain Killers, Spreads Hepatitis C in Hospital

  1. Rob,
    I think that the old myth that marijuana is not an addictive drug is crumbling in the face of obvious marijuana addiction in thousands. Addiction is simply continued use in the face of escalating negative consequences.

    And hey, is it my imagination or are there a lot of drug-related stories that seem to be coming out of Denver lately?

  2. I knew someone with Hep C years ago. It’s a very nasty disease to have. She had to undergo chemotherapy for it.

    Even causing one person to get that disease is horrible. Giving it to so many people… especially people who were doing nothing that should have caused them to contract such a terrible disease, but were in a hospital for surgery… that is just unforgivable.

    And this woman was trying to get custody of her 2 year old child? If she was doing heroin last summer, it’s no wonder the baby’s father has him.

  3. “The idea that drug use is a personal matter that will never affect others is a myth”

    The idea that this blog has any intelligence is a myth.

  4. So I take it you can’t argue the actual points. I’m surprised. So how much of your parents money do you eat up a year anyway?

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