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Lehigh Acres woman accused of "pill shopping"

Posted at 1:03 AM, Dec 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-14 01:03:04-05

A Lehigh Acres woman is accused of going to Lehigh Regional Medical Center under four different names, racking up nearly $45,000 in services and medications, and not paying for them.

This behavior is commonly referred to as "pill shopping."

Investigators said Nicole Harvey, 45, used different names each time she came and never had an ID on her.

Harvey was caught when a nurse realized she looked familiar and called the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said on Sunday, Harvey came into ER saying she needed painkillers.

"It's not uncommon to see someone who is addicted try to utilize medical facilities to get opiates," Steven Hill of Salus Care said.

Hill said usually people do this to feed an addiction, but there are other reasons.

"We see a lot of people who will get lots of medications and sell them on the street," Hill said.

Hill said this was less common as lawmakers were cracking down on pill mills, but is now in the rise in the midst of the opioid epidemic

"You're eventually going to get to that point where addiction is the most important thing and basically you're doing whatever it takes to get the next high," Hill said.

Records show Harvey has been arrested multiple times before, including for fraud and battery.