SLO County’s great cake caper
August 17, 2016
By KAREN VELIE
It turned out to be sort of a half-baked plan.
On June 7, Susan Cameron, a nursing supervisor in charge of medical staff at the San Luis Obispo County Jail, brought a cake in for her co-workers to enjoy. “While all the employees were in another room eating cake,” Cameron was allegedly getting high on opioids.
But Cameron appears not to have considered a video camera that monitored the room. She was caught on video stealing and consuming an inmate’s prescription methadone, according to a search warrant affidavit.
A day later, Cameron failed to appear at work. Co-workers tried to reach her by phone but she did not answer.
A deputy was dispatched to Cameron’s home in Cayucos where the officer found her inside the home, unresponsive with foam coming from her mouth, the search warrant affidavit said.
Because Cameron was cold to the touch, the deputy started CPR. Once paramedics arrived, Cameron was given a shot of Narcan, an opioid blocker that can reverse an overdose, and transported to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.
Following Cameron’s overdose, Commander Jim Voge mounted an investigation. One of the therapists interviewed said she had discovered a discrepancy in the log from June 7, the day before Cameron overdosed. Nurses giving drugs to inmates are required to initial each dose. But, in several cases, the initials were missing.
In addition, the therapist noticed methadone missing from a prescription container, she said.
Witnesses told investigators of multiple incidents in which Cameron failed to follow drug dispensing protocols and that her behavior was of concern.
“That behavior consisted of rambling, fidgety, pale and diaphoretic (heavy sweating),” the affidavit read.
After Voge viewed the tape of Cameron using methadone at work, the sheriff’s department applied for a warrant to search Cameron’s home.
“It would not be uncommon for an employee who steals prescription medication from their employer and consumes it while at work, to conceal it and remove it from their place of employment,” the probable cause statement used to obtain the search warrant read. “It would not be uncommon for that employee to store that stolen prescription medication at their home, so as to be able to use it at a later time.”
The statement also suggested that, “it would also not be uncommon for Susan Cameron, a registered nurse, to steal and/or forge blank doctor’s scripts… .”
On June 22, sheriff deputies served the search warrant on Cameron’s home.
The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing a request from the sheriff’s department to file a criminal complaint against Cameron, Assistant District Attorney Lee Cunningham said.
Employees from both San Luis Obispo County’s human resources and sheriff’s departments failed to respond to questions about Cameron’s employment status.
The kind of cake Cameron brought to the jail was not reported.