BRUNSWICK — A Brunswick firefighter who allegedly tampered with painkillers stored aboard ambulances has been suspended with pay.
Fire Chief Gary Howard would not identify the suspended firefighter, who is also an emergency medical worker. He said the investigation continues into the alleged tampering with morphine and Valium.
Meanwhile, officials at Mid Coast and Parkview Memorial hospitals removed all the painkillers from area ambulances until a new system is designed for handling the controlled substances.
“They felt there was some tampering and they wanted to investigate,” Howard said.
The case is being investigated by the Brunswick Police Department and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. Howard said the employee was suspended on Dec. 10 and that the investigation is in its early stages.
No other emergency medical technicians or paramedics in the area have been suspended, Howard said. But ambulances in Freeport, Lisbon, Bath, Topsham, Cundy’s Harbor and County Ambulance are operating without the painkiller medication.
Bath Fire Chief Ronald Clark said his department was told by the hospitals that there was a problem with the drugs and they would be removed from the ambulances indefinitely. “They called the drug kits back,” Clark said.
Gary Miller, director of the pharmacy at Mid Coast in Brunswick, said an emergency services committee of physicians and nurses from the two hospitals decided to pull the morphine and Valium from the ambulances when it learned of the alleged tampering.