A third Publix pharmacy employee in 28 days has license suspended over drug thefts

A Florida pharmacy technician got an emergency suspension order dropped on her license after she stole Xanax and pain medication from a Publix pharmacy, the Florida Department of Health says.

If this sounds familiar, Sharon Dalton’s ESO was the third license suspension in 28 days for Publix pharmacy employees accused of boosting drugs from the workplace. As was the case with the previous two, Publix did not pursue criminal charges against Dalton.

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According to the ESO, the Bunnell resident had been working at a Holly Hill Publix, 1850 Ridgewood Ave., for two months when a supervisor noticed missing buprenorphine tablets seemed to align with Dalton’s shifts. Once, a whole bottle of the pain medication disappeared.

“The supervisor observed that Ms. Dalton frequently displayed “odd behavior,” including nervousness, agitation and shaking,” the ESO said. “Based upon Ms. Dalton’s behavior, the supervisor suspected that Ms. Dalton had taken the missing bupreneorphine tablets.”

Though the store’s loss prevention officer began watching Dalton closely, the ESO said nothing was proven before February, when Publix granted her request for transfer to the Publix at 414 Beach Village Dr. in Flagler Beach. But by May, supervisors there noticed the same connection their Holly Hill counterparts did between disappearing buprenorphine and Dalton’s shift.

Installing surveillance cameras paid off, the ESO said, on May 7 when the loss prevention officer saw Dalton pocket some buprenorphine tablets. Under questioning, she admitted to stealing the buprenorphine and stealing drugs from both Publixes.

The ESO said she admitted in writing that her drug loot included 10 Xanax tablets; 50 buprenorphine tablets; 50 tablets of phentermine, a stimulant often used for weight loss; and 15 strips of Suboxone, which contains buprenorphine.

“Dalton stated that she took these medications for her own use, ‘to feel better,’ the ESO said.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.