A former Virginia school aide has been sentenced to five years in prison for stealing children's prescription medication and replacing the drugs with over-the-counter medicines, possibly in order to feed her drug habit, Roanoke's WSET-TV reports.
Until May of 2019, Caitlin Poytress had been a teacher's aide at Clover Hill Elementary School in Chesterfield County. According to a Richmond Times-Dispatch report, at the time a parent began to suspect that her child's medication wasn't being properly handled at school. How the parent came to that conclusion and if that person suspected 39-year-old Poytress is not clear.
Authorities did say at the time that the medicine suspected of turning up missing was Adderall. According to WebMD, the medicine is a stimulant used to treat attention deficit disorder, narcolepsy, and other conditions. Adderall, extremely popular with drug abusers, and is often bought and sold on the black market.
The school's nurse began getting suspicious around the same time as the parent. Pill bottles were not in their proper storage locations, medicines were missing, and the counting sheets traditionally used to keep track of controlled substances showed inconsistencies and corrections.
Soon, the nurse began to suspect that, in at least one case, a child's Adderall prescription had been stolen, with the pills being replaced with Benadryl, an over-the-counter allergy medication. Another student's Adderall had been stolen and replaced with an unidentified sedative and a third child's Adderall was stolen and replaced with Alleve, an over-the-counter pain medication.
At the time, Poytress was charged with three counts of child endangerment, possession of a schedule II drug, possession with intent to distribute a schedule III drug, possession with intent to distribute a schedule IV drug, and three counts of petty larceny.Authorities alleged that Poytress was using the Adderall for her "personal use."
Chesterfield police Lt. Tim Kehoe said that he does not believe any of the children whose medications were stolen and replaced were sickened by the replacement medication, adding that none of the dummy medications are known to be harmful to children.
"I don't think there were any kind of major health concerns," he said.
This week, Poytress was convicted of felony child neglect, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, petty larceny and possession of a controlled substance. A judge sentenced her to 18 years in prison, with 13 years suspended, meaning that she'll spend no more than 5 years behind bars.
Poytress admitted during her trial that she had "an opioid problem."