There are many things that could potentially constitute negligence in a nursing home in New Mexico. Slippery floors, poorly maintained equipment, medical errors and even lack of proper training could all lead to injuries for vulnerable residents. However, some of these issues may also contain the element of something more than negligent behavior.
Some of the issues that plague New Mexico assisted living centers in nursing homes are part of a larger epidemic: prescription drug abuse. Care facilities often have large quantities of these substances on hand, making them a popular target for thieves. This may lead to pain, injury or, in some extreme cases, even death for people living in nursing homes.
According to the National Institute On Drug Abuse, prescription drug misuse has increased over the past 15 years. Furthermore, many high-risk substances are relatively common in nursing facilities:
- Opioid painkillers
Nursing home workers may see this supply as an opportunity to gain illicit income or supply an addiction at the expense of residents. These actions could provide the basis of a criminal charge. If investigations uncovered a potential warning in a worker's background check, the nursing home or long-term care facility itself could be liable for negligence as well.
Of course, New Mexico is not the only state with these types of issues. The Canton Repository reported on an arrest of a woman in Ohio who was charged with multiple offenses surrounding alleged theft of prescription opioids.
The Repository article goes on to explain the details of the alleged criminal actions. Only time will tell whether the nursing home, rated as above average, will bear any responsibility for the stolen drugs and false paperwork allegedly involved in these charges.