Posted by: B | 2009-01-17

Addiction or paranoia?

Hi -
I' m in a very difficult situation, I suspect that my immediate boss is addicted to codeine. Or if not addicted, she uses WAY too much, and she' s certainly acting sneakily over the acquisition of the meds. I' ll describe her behaviour, then I need advice please on what, if anything!!, I should/can do to protect myself.

For a while she' s asked me on a weekly basis to just ' get something from a specific pharmacy'  for her, always the same pills, always the same amount, NEVER the same pharmacy. (according to her, because of a better price at another one, or some other weak excuse.)

Apart from this, (which actually amounts to whole lot of meds for ONE week) she' s also been getting the same stuff herself whenever she' s in town. (I' ve seen her.)

AND she' s also been sending our company driver on trips to the pharmacy (for the SAME meds!) BUT she' s like sneaking him her " order"  and I' ve noticed that she' s always doing this while I' m pre-occupied (as it seems to her, but I notice way more than people think I do!)
When the driver returns, she' d literally pounce on him and then I' d notice (with my extraordinary observatory abilities haha) that she walks quite stealthily past my office into hers, glancing furtively in my direction, and hiding her parcel behind her.
This is NOT normal behaviour, is it??

I' m so afraid that this is serious and that it might have an effect on her work. At the moment she' s doing her work brilliantly,and everybody has huge respect for her, professionally as well as for her as a person. And we get on very well.
BUT if this IS an addiction, and if it gets out of control (or rather, MORE out of control, because I see any addiction as inherently an out of control situation) it could cause HUGE problems.
She' s in a very responsible position, working with big amounts of cash on a daily basis, and I can already see that it would be VERY easy for her to pin something on ME if something DOES go wrong.

She' s also been working here for much longer that I have...which also wouldn' t help!!

What should I do??? If anything...
I cannot confront her, she' d simply deny anything, and it might cause ructions between us. And I' m SO afraid that she' d do something to jeapordise my career here!!!!!! (It would be very easy for her to do if she would want to.)

This is actually keeping me awake at night.

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Our expert says:
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Well, Codeine is related to Morphine, and people can indeed get addicted to it. There's little control over it's availability in SA, but in some countries it's much more strictly controlled.
Somebody who doesnt collect her meds herself, and uses different pharmacies each time, is indeed suspicious. And as you pay for the meds, you'll know if there is really any significant price difference between the different shops. So no, what you describe is hardly normal behaviour.
And if she is inded suffering from such constant severe headaches as to need so much strong pain-killing, she needs to see a doctor for assessment of the cause of such headaches. I wonder how she would respond to sympathy for her awful headaches, and a suggestion that she see a doctor to seek the cause of them, to try to stop them, rather than only relieving them.
Is there an HR person or division with whom you could discuss this on a strictly confidential basis ?
What do other readers think and suggest ?

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