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Saturday, February 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Former Pend Oreille County paramedic focus of state case concerning stolen painkillers

A former paramedic who underwent two shoulder surgeries and injured his knee became addicted to painkillers and stole dozens of boxes of prescription drugs from his employer, the Pend Oreille County Fire District 2, according to legal filings.

Joshua E. Hicks, 27, has already been convicted of reckless driving, theft and possession of prescription drugs without a prescription in June.

Now an administrative case alleging unprofessional conduct has since been started against him by the state Department of Health, which oversees the licensing of health care workers.

DOH documents allege that on Oct. 13, 2015, Hicks was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after he was involved in a crash in a fire department vehicle. A sample of his blood later tested positive for hydrocodone.

Days after the crash, Hicks admitted to the fire chief that he had been stealing drugs for nearly two years. He joined the department in December 2013 and was responsible for stocking medicines. But charging documents say he stopped keeping records around June 2014. The stolen drugs included morphine and fentanyl.

A sheriff’s deputy who interviewed Hicks wrote that he “appeared truthful, remorseful and cooperative” and was taking steps to address his drug addiction, including rehab and sponsorship through a local church.

Documents say Hicks started using painkillers after receiving a knee injury in February 2014. He later injured his shoulder and underwent two failed surgeries.

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