A Crestview nursing home nurse accused of stealing patients’ prescription medications has an April 9 court date.

A Crestview nursing home nurse accused of stealing patients’ prescription medications has an April 9 court date.

The woman was charged with larceny, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, and opium or derivative 4 grams to under 30 kilograms following a Feb. 24 investigation and her admission to the crimes, according to police reports.

She had in her possession more than 100 pills intended for different patients, and said she needed them to relieve a previous surgery’s pain.

The News Bulletin’s website, crestviewbulletin.com, and its Facebook page, Crestview.Bulletin, reported the incident last week.

The comments, from our view, were more shocking than the case itself.

“Another piece of crap,” one Facebook reader said.

Another reader liked that comment. 

Some, like Deborah Meyers Steward — who earned this week’s Top Comment designation (See the print-exclusive "Hubbub" in the March 13 edition) — were the voice of reason.

“Addiction is a horrible disease; it does not mean you are a horrible person,” she said.

We are not doctors and cannot present a diagnosis; but hypothetically, the likelihood of drug dependence increases with easy access and risk factors like depression and anxiety disorders, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine.

In such a case, symptoms include practicing secret rituals to hide drug use, malnutrition, using drugs despite their harm to work and home life, and ultimately lacking control over drug use.

Lacking control over your body — being powerless in a hopeless battle you can’t win alone.

If someone admits to such a medically documented condition, and there’s no evidence to doubt his or her intentions, why cast scorn?

Alcoholics Anonymous’ Twelve Steps, the model for numerous compulsion and addiction recovery courses, state the first positive step is admitting you have a problem.

We often hear the phrase “so and so was arrested without incident”—which means no resistance, no obstruction of justice. Knowing this information may soften, however slightly, the public’s perception of the suspect. After all, someone willing to face the charges must be certain of his or her innocence, or at least respects due process.

However, facing consequences and doing the hardest thing an addict can do — admit there is a problem — particularly is notable and, in the absence of other evidence, is laudable.

Too often, readers see arrest reports and mug shots and react passionately, assuming the worst.

Though we share concerns about the region’s drug problems, particularly the seemingly ubiquitous methamphetamine labs, let us remember two things: people are innocent until proven guilty and to err is human.

Readers sometimes speak harshly about suspects in arrest reports, but such publication satisfies the press’s and government’s transparency and shouldn’t denote guilt. That’s for a court to decide.

Further, people are human.

Okaloosa County’s Drug Court requires substance abuse treatment and couples sanctions with incentives to help rehabilitate residents and break addiction.

The state court system does not give up on people so why should their neighbors?

As reader Laurie Ryan Peterson writes on our Facebook page, “Addiction is insidious. Many are lost in it until they hit bottom.”

A compassionate word from someone who understands that this could happen to your son, daughter, mother, father, husband, wife, best friend, lover, or anyone else close to you.

And it’s beyond their control.

Contact News Bulletin Editor Thomas Boni at 682-6524 or tboni@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbeditor.