Police: Mom tried to trade kid's medicine for painkillers
MARTIN, Tenn. — Morphine is a highly-addictive painkiller. Vyvanse is a drug used to treat attention deficit disorders. While they may look somewhat similar, they are very different.
That's what Martin's Police Captain Don Teal says Tina Christiansen was banking on.
"The fact of the matter is she was trading her children's medicine for drugs for herself," he said.
Christiansen, 40, of Sharon, Tennessee, is now facing drug and fraud charges.
While it was Teal's department that made the arrest, it was another department that first got the ball rolling on the case. Working off a tip, a Union City police officer began texting her and the two agreed to meet.
The texts led to the parking lot of Martin's Rural King. Investigators say Tina Christiansen came ready to make a deal. They say she was willing to trade out 29 of her daughter's pills for just two morphine pills.
But instead of pills, she received handcuffs.
She is also facing state charges. The pills prescribed to her daughter, as it turns out, were paid for by state dollars. Christiansen and her daughter were enrolled in TennCare, the state's Medicare system.
"It's outrageous," said Deborah Faulkner, the state inspector general, during a phone interview Monday. "The taxpayers of Tennessee do not mind providing children with medicines they need. We much more mind when parents are totally diverting that program and selling these drugs for something else they want."
Faulkner said the state does not take fraud of this kind lightly.
While taxpayers may have been victims as well, Teal said it's Christiansen's young daughter who lost the most.
"This is a really sad situation."
We do not know how old Christiansen's daughter is or how long she had been on the medication. But local pharmacists told us vyvanse is a once-daily drug. The drug is helpful in leveling out kids' moods and helping with their concentration.
Local 6 did try contacting Tina Christiansen but we were unsuccessful.
She is next due in court June 27.