Kristin Dowling , a young woman in her 20’s from the Annapolis Valley has been serving time in prison since April 2011 for the armed robbery of the Clinic Pharmacy in Kentville Nova Scotia . She was a legal user for 5 years and had multiple scripts for powerful opiate painkillers. She was suddenly cut by her doctor after a protest outside of his office in March 2011 . Weeks later after no other doctors would fill her prescription she robbed the clinic pharmacy for approx 50, 000 dollars worth of dilaudid . The drug she had been previously prescribed.
This August Kristin wrote a letter to be read at Kentvilles Prescription to Addiction Awareness Hour’s event. In the letter, she talked about going to a “pill doctor,” who would send her home with months worth of pills at a time. In her first two weeks in this doctor’s care, she was prescribed five months worth of drugs. “I kept going back, and I kept getting more,” she wrote. She also admitted to being a street dealer
The following is an interview I had over the phone with Kristin Dowling this week .
GPDOTS : How did your addiction begin to prescription pain killers?
KD : In the mid 2000’s I tried orally taking opiate painkillers. I really liked the feeling it gave me. I then tried snorting them and thought the high was amazing ! In 2006 I heard of a new doctor at Mud Creek Medical Clinic , his name was Dr Salazar. I was told you could go in and easily get pills with the right excuse. The first time I went to see him I walked out with 5 months of meds.
GPDOTS : Were you in any pain when you went in to see the doctor?
KD: No I was not in any pain what so ever
GPDOTS :What did you say was causing your pain so you could get a legal prescription to abuse and divert?
GPDOTS : Did Dr Salazar ever indicate he knew about your drug abuse issues?
KD: Yes he told us different times over the years that he had complaints about me and my partner selling and abusing our meds. One time the pharmacy called to complain to Dr Salazar because we were buying clean needles and filling our prescriptions at the same time. Another time he said he received a complaint from other patients that we were selling pills in the Mud Creek parking lot.
GPDOTS : Did the police ever indicate to you they knew about you selling and abusing your prescriptions?
KD : Yes we had been raided so many times ! We always got out of trouble because we had our prescriptions . As long as we had the kind of pills we were prescribed we were un touchable .
GPDOTS: Did the pharmacy ever question you about your prescriptions or buying needles at the same time?
KD : Never
GPDOTS : Did you ever see any other doctors from Mud Creek Clinic ?
KD : Yes , we used to see Dr Doran when Salazar was not in .
GPDOTS : Did the police know where you were getting your prescriptions ?
KD : Yes they knew we were getting all our prescriptions from Mud Creek Medical Clinic.
GPDOTS : Before your prescription was cut off what were you being prescribed from Dr Salazar?
KD : I was prescribed 120 hydromorphone 12’s per month , about 4 pills a day which is 48mg per day. I had enough pills between me and my partner that we could abuse and sell them .
GPDOTS : How long did you abuse your prescriptions before you were cut off??
KD : 5 years
Kristin says this has been the first time she has been sober since her teenage years and she is thankful she went to prison . When Kristin gets out of prison in 2012 she wants to go to University to get a degree so she can help people who used to be in her old shoes.