crime

Woman charged with impersonating a nurse to get drugs

Christina Talamante
Christina Talamante
Courtesy of the San Juan County Adult Detention Center

Story highlights

  • A state effort to curb painkiller abuse resulted in a 5 percent decrease in opioid painkiller prescriptions.
  • A San Juan County woman allegedly illegally obtained prescription painkillers from Kare Drug, Safeway and WalMart.
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Suspect allegedly told police she became addicted to painkillers after 2006 car crash

FARMINGTON — A San Juan County resident faces felony charges for allegedly impersonating a nurse to acquire prescription painkillers from pharmacies in Bloomfield and Farmington.

Christina Talamante, 33, allegedly called the Kare Drug Store in Bloomfield on July 7 and told the pharmacist she was a nurse from a local doctor's office. She allegedly asked for 60 pills of 50 milligram Tramadol and gave the pharmacist a fake patient name, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

The physician's office told the pharmacist the prescription had not been written when the pharmacist called to verify the details, according to the affidavit.

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Bloomfield police officers met Talamante at the Kare Drug Store when she went to pick up the prescription, according to the affidavit. 

Talamante told police she initially was prescribed pain medication in 2006 following a car crash. She allegedly became addicted to the pain medication and began acquiring it illegally in Durango, Colo. She told police she would take up to 10 pills of prescription pain medication daily. The recommended dose is up to eight pills a day.

Opioid painkillers attach to pain receptors on nerves to block pain and produce a sense of well-being. People who take opioid painkillers can acquire a tolerance to them that makes them need a higher dose to receive the same effect. Taking higher doses can lead to overdoses. Between 2011 and 2015, about 220 people in San Juan County visited the emergency room with opioid overdoses, according to state data.

Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released new guidelines urging doctors to avoid prescribing opiate painkillers to treat chronic pain. The state also passed a law last year requiring health care providers to check a patient's prescription history in a state-run database prior to prescribing opioids.

Those efforts led to a 5 percent decrease in the amount of opioids prescribed in the first quarter of this year in New Mexico, according to a press release this week from the New Mexico Department of Health.

Talamante recently moved to New Mexico and allegedly started impersonating nurses to get prescription medicine starting in March. According to the affidavit, she allegedly picked up prescriptions from both WalMart locations in Farmington, as well as the Safeway pharmacy and the Kare Drug Store.

Talamante faces two counts of fourth-degree felony charges of attempting to acquire a controlled substance by misrepresentation. She also faces one fourth-degree felony fraud charge from June. She had not obtained an attorney as of today. 

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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