A PHARMACIST addicted to opioids who stole them from work has had his registration cancelled by the Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Luke Pickett started a job at two New England pharmacies in February 2016, where he became addicted to the Schedule 8 drug, Oxycodone.
Staff raised concerns about Pickett's behaviour at work and a stock check of the cabinet revealed a number of medications were missing.
When his employer confronted him about discrepancies in the Dangerous Drug Register, Pickett admitted he had been taking them for personal use.
He stole the drugs by not recording receipts into the pharmacy's registers and estimated he took six to 10, 80mg Oxycodone tablets a day.
When he was in withdrawal he would take Alprazolam, another Schedule 8 drug, to help him sleep.
Not long after he was caught, Pickett resigned from both pharmacies in August last year, and had his licence suspended by the Pharmacy Council of NSW a month later.
The Health Care Complaints Commission argued in the Civil and Administrative Tribunal in March this year that Pickett's actions amounted to professional misconduct and that he was not competent to practice pharmacy.
In the six months he was employed at the New England pharmacies, Pickett took a haul of 1062 different Schedule 8 medication tablets, court documents show.
Throughout the court process Pickett gave a number of excuses, he said he only used the drugs during pharmacy shifts due to back pain, that he took them to deal with the emotional pain from the death of his grandfather and that he never took them during work.
The Tribunal found Pickett had acted unethically and noted, "a pharmacist occupies a position of trust in our community by virtue of having access to drugs of addiction."
"It goes to the very heart of a pharmacist's professional and ethical obligations in relation to safe and lawful dispensing of medications."
Pickett was ordered to pay legal costs, his registration was cancelled with a non-review period of 18 months.