Doctors and nurses have far greater access to prescription drugs like opioids, than your average citizen. As such, there is a temptation for some to commit drug crimes — namely, stealing the medications and then distributing them or using them themselves.

For instance, one report looked at the numbers for 2018 and discovered that about 47 million doses of opioids got stolen during the course of the year. There were legally prescribed medications. If you feel like that’s a lot, you’re correct. In fact, it was a 126% increase from 2017.

Where did the thefts take place and who was responsible? More than a third of cases (34%) occurred at medical centers or hospitals. The next most common location was a private practice. This was followed by long-term care facilities, where elderly patients often need many medications, then the very pharmacies where these medications are sold.

As far as who was responsible was concerned, doctors and nurses were the subjects of the reports in around two-thirds (67%) of these incidents. They stole opioids in particular in a staggering 94% of the cases, and the top drugs that got stolen were oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl — in that order.

Drug addiction is a real problem in the United States. It often pushes people to act in a way that they would never act otherwise, and many of those who get accused of drug crimes really just need professional assistance at a medical center to break that addiction. Even so, an arrest can have massive ramifications for a doctor’s career, so those who are accused need to know what defense options they have.