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How Did Five People Overdose On Heroin In A Nursing Home?

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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Several residents of a Chicago nursing home overdosed on heroin in February, and the facility failed to notify state and federal health officials of the incidents as required by law.

Five occupants of Continental Nursing & Rehabilitation Center were hospitalized after overdosing on heroin, according to the Chicago Tribune. After they all recovered and were released, two residents abused the substance again, including one who overdosed, despite the fact they should have been highly monitored.

One of the residents was reportedly found on the floor with several packets of white powder near him.

Terry Sullivan, executive director of the Illinois Alliance for Living, a professional association of living facilities, says the amount of people overdosing on heroin at one time in such a place is quite abnormal. (RELATED: Hospital Charges Father $39.35 For Holding His Newborn)

“I have never heard of that. No question that’s uncommon,” Sullivan told the Chicago Tribune.

Illinois law mandates that nursing homes inform the Department of Public Health if anything happens that may put patients in danger. The nursing home failed to do so.

The Illinois public health department, as well as the federal government, now plan on penalizing the facility more than $100,000 for failing to supervise their own patients. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are exacting $76,000 for the alleged violations from the February ordeal, reports the Chicago Tribune. The nursing home is challenging the $25,000 fine from the state’s public health department.

Continental, which has around 208 beds, was granted $11 million from taxpayers through Medicaid and Medicare programs.

The facility accommodates a mixture of both older residents and younger adults with mental illness.

It reported to the state that 108 of the residents were younger than 65-years-old, while 129 have some sort of mental illness and 29 have at least one felony on their records.

“If you are right, it goes against what our mission has been,” Moishe Gubin, part-owner of Continental, told the Chicago Tribune. “If you look at our company historically, we generally give good care. It’s not lack of resources or staff, or they cheaped out and didn’t take care of people. You’ll never hear about that with us.”

Police records show that in 2014 a 61-year-old patient attempt to escape the facility by rappelling from a 4th-floor window by tying several sheets together. The man broke his hips and suffered a collapsed lung in the process.

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