A powdered form of the potent painkiller oxycodone that authorities seized from a Delaware County man last month was smuggled out of the Covidien plant in Hobart where the drug is manufactured, police said Monday.
“We traced the oxycodone back to Covidien,” Delaware County Undersheriff Craig Dumond said.
A Covidien employee is suspected of stealing the drug from inside the plant and transfering it to Robert Willsey, 40, of Harpersfield.
Dumond said the Covidien worker had been sneaking out “a little bit at a time.” That person has been terminated by the company, and charges are expected to be filed against him by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, he said.
Dumond said law enforcement is working with Covidien managers to “address this problem.”
“The abuse of pharmaceutic drugs is a prolific problem in New York,” the undersheriff added.
Willsey’s wife and the mother of the drug suspect’s four young daughters, Joann Willsey, agreed with that assessment when contacted by The Daily Star.
She said she would like to see her husband placed in drug rehabilitation to treat his addiction to prescription drugs. While refusing to discuss the police allegations against her husband, she said she believes Covidien has a rampant problem with internal theft of oxycodone.
“You hear about a lot of people doing it, taking it out of there,” Joann Willsey said. “If they had better security, it probably wouldn’t be getting out of there. In my opinion, that drug should be taken off the market. Nobody should be allowed to have that drug — not even as painkillers.”
She said abuse of pharmaceutical drugs has skyrocketed in the upstate communities with which she is familiar.
“It’s all over the place,” she said. “It’s a very addictive thing.” She said two of her relatives recently went into drug rehabilitation for painkiller abuse.