PIQUA, Ohio (WDTN) - A Persian Gulf War Veteran suffering from multiple sclerosis returned home from vacation in February to discover his painkillers missing and now UPS and Piqua police are investigating.
James Sparks and his wife Melissa were reluctant to leave home because every month painkillers arrive for James and they require a signature.
Mr. Sparks suffers from multiple sclerosis he says came from the anthrax vaccine he was given while in combat in the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
" We went on vacation, hoped for the best, and the worst happened," Mrs. Sparks told 2 NEWS Investigates .
The Sparks got a notice from UPS that indicated the company tried to deliver the box of pills while they were away and since no one was home, the box was taken to the closest UPS customer center. So on President's Day the couple traveled from Greenville to Piqua.
"We went to the Piqua Center Monday and went to pick up the medicine and the gentleman there couldn't find it," Mrs. Sparks said. She told 2 NEWS Investigates that she was shocked to have UPS actually let them into the room to look at the boxes. She said the room was not locked.
When asked about this situation UPS sent an email to 2 NEWS Investigates stating there would not be anyone locally to interview and it would be counter-productive anyway to discuss security measures.
Melissa explained, " We spent two hours there, looking for the package and finally a supervisor came out and said you know we can't locate it, you should just go home. If we find it, we'll call you. And I said you don't understand, this is a narcotic, it's my husband's medicine, and if you can't find it I'm going to have to file a police report."
The Sparks did file a police report. 2 NEWS Investigates got a copy of it, but the department would not talk about the ongoing investigation.
The Dayton VA Medical Center did refill the oxycodone prescription after checking with UPS and Piqua police and sent 2 NEWS Investigates this statement:
"The Dayton VA Medical Center and the Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy – CMOP (an automated regional distribution facility) has a few methods to distribute medication to Veterans, which depend on the type of medication. Non-controlled medications such as ibuprofen are mailed to the Veteran through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Temperature control medications such as insulin are sent overnight to the patient by United Parcel Service (UPS). Controlled substances such as morphine are mailed to the Veteran through UPS with an adult over 21 signature required upon receipt. The VA uses these methods of distribution to ensure the safety of Veterans and their families. At this time, the Veteran does not have a choice in their mail carrier as the shipping facility selects the carrier based on the type of medication and safety considerations. The CMOP, mail – order pharmacy program, used by the Dayton VAMC to fill Veterans' prescriptions was recognized as J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Customer Service Champion."
"It's just been real frustrating. It's a company we need to be able to rely on and trust," stated Mrs. Sparks.
She added, "I just hope this doesn't happen to anyone else and that maybe they'll make some changes so it doesn't."
The Sparks said the box itself does not indicate there are drugs inside, but the return address is the VA medical center's, and their address is on the box. If you shake the box because there's not cotton used in the bottle, you can get a good idea that there are pills inside, according to the Sparks. Oxycodone is a narcotic and the Sparks fear the pills getting into the wrong hands.
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