Fairfax school health workers accused of stealing medication from students

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A health worker at a Fairfax County elementary school has been charged with stealing Ritalin, Adderall and other drugs prescribed to students and giving the kids sugar pills or over-the-counter medicines instead, authorities said Thursday.

Jennifer Carpenter, 45, a county health worker assigned to Greenbriar East Elementary School in Chantilly, became the focus of a criminal investigation in May after a health department supervisor “noted a discrepancy in the quantity of drugs used by several students had in school”. This was announced by the Fairfax County Police Department.

Carpenter was responsible for administering prescription drugs to teens while they were in school, the statement said. It said detectives found she forged documents related to the drugs and was dispensing “sugar placebo pills” and over-the-counter drugs “in lieu of the prescribed narcotics” which she kept for personal use.

“During the investigation, detectives identified seven students whose medicines were being abused,” the statement said.

Police said Carpenter was indicted by a grand jury Monday on charges of illegal drug possession, obtaining drugs by fraud, illegally dispensing spare pills without the recipient’s permission and contributing to the criminal activity of a minor.

Carpenter could not be immediately located for comment Thursday, and court filings do not indicate whether she engaged an attorney.

“As parents, we have an expectation that someone we trust will take care of our children,” Police Captain Frederick Chambers, chief of criminal investigation, said in the statement. “When that trust is broken, we can feel betrayed.”

Police urged anyone with information about the case to call 703-591-0966. Tips may also be submitted anonymously by phone at 866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477).

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