Society

Elderly Veteran Charged With Narcotics Possession After Pharmacy Mistake

| by Dominic Kelly

An 83-year-old Army veteran who was given the wrong prescription by a pharmacist has accepted a plea deal and will have all charges against him dropped if he stays out of trouble.

Robert Cirpinski was prescribed hydrocodone by his doctor to manage pain from abdominal problems, but in January of 2013, the doctor decided to try him on a new drug. The doctor told Cirpinski’s pharmacist not to fill the prescription for hydrocodone the next time he came in for his drugs, so when the veteran’s wife came in to pick up the medication, the pharmacy wound up giving her two prescriptions – one for the hydrocodone and one for the new drug, unbeknownst to her. She took both home, and not long after, the couple received a call from the pharmacy about the mix up. Then, out of nowhere, the police arrived at Cirpinski’s home.

“She [the pharmacist] wanted that prescription back, but there’s a law that says you’re not supposed to bring a prescription back,” said Cirpinski. “I told him [police officer], ‘You can have the pills if you sign for them.’ He said, ‘I don’t do that,’ then he grabbed me and threw me to the floor. Put my arms behind my back.”

Police accused Cirpinski of taking six of the pills, but the 83-year-old maintains, to this day, that he never even opened the bottle because his doctor told him not to take the hydrocodone anymore.

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Beverly Cirpinski says officers threw her onto the couch and put a knee on her back until she gave them the bottle of pills. She was arrested and charged with obstructing an officer, but those charges were later dropped.

Robert Cirpinski was charged with posession of narcotic drugs, theft and resisting an officer, and more than a year later, he has finally accepted a plea deal. The felony drug charge has been dropped, and the misdemeanor charges will also be dropped if he stays out of trouble for 10 ½ months.

“No two cases are ever the same, our job is to search for the truth and to seek justice. Each and every case has its own unique set of facts and circumstances,” said Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete. “At the time of this incident, Mr. Cirpinski was 81 years old. His actions on that day at the pharmacy and later with law enforcement were absolutely and completely inexcusable. That being said, up to that day, he had led a productive and crime-free life. This agreement takes all of these circumstances into account. We believe that this resolution best serves the interests of the community.”

Even though Cirpinski got off with the best possible outcome, he says he is still upset by the accusations against him.

“I don’t like that people tell lies about me,” said the veteran. “It really burns me.”

Sources: Madison.com, TheJournalTimes.com (2)