News 5 Investigates

Jun 27, 2014 8:24 PM by Eric Ross

Court documents obtained in Springs police officer’s arrest reveal possible drug abuse

Court documents reveal troubling new details about a Colorado Springs police officer arrested on suspicion of obtaining controlled substances by fraud or deceit.

We have uncovered Jeffrey Warkocz obtained a slew of powerful pain medications from multiple doctors over the course of several months. Warkocz faces a class four felony, but the trouble doesn't stop here. He also faces possible charges stemming from a hit-and-run incident in April.

Police were able to arrest Warkocz this week after accessing the statewide prescription drug monitoring system which tracks every prescription filled in Colorado.

News 5 Investigates learned gaps in the way the state monitors the program allowed Warkocz to slide under the radar.

Documents obtained by News 5 Friday show Warkocz was getting painkiller prescriptions from multiple doctors starting in April 2013. Despite all of his prescriptions being entered into the state's data base, red flags were not sounded until April 30th of this year when police contacted the Colorado State Board of Pharmacies.

In an effort to crack down on patients illegally obtaining prescriptions, the state launched a prescription drug monitoring program overseen by the Department of Regulatory Agencies. This program has existed for about a decade.

"It's information available to both prescribers and dispenser so that they can choose to look up a specific patient when they are thinking about filling a prescription or writing a prescription," Ronnie Hines with DORA told News 5 in a previous interview.

However, that system didn't stop Officer Warkocz from obtaining numerous prescriptions for Oxycontin and Oxycodone from multiple doctors. According to court papers, all the doctors who prescribed Warkocz medication said they had no idea the officer was going doctor to doctor.

How was he able to beat the system?

"Pharmacies are required to upload into the system but a requirement to check the database does not exist," Hines said. "It's not a requirement."

While all prescriptions are uploaded into the system, there's no requirement for pharmacists or doctors to cross check patients. In fact, there's no law right now requiring any physicians to have access to the system.

"We do see about 6,000 physicians registered to use the system," Hines said. "there are about 17,000 physicians license in the state."

The Fourth Judicial District Attorney's Office is reviewing this case.

Meanwhile, Warkocz remains on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.

Effective next year, all prescribing practitioners will be required to register with the state's program.

Lawmakers hope this will further eliminate prescription drug abuse in Colorado.

 

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