Less than two weeks from now, on November 29th, Mike will spend the first of 20 days in prison. "What I did is public information so I am willing to talk about this," Mike says. But what hasn't been public information—up until now—is that Mike had never gambled or stolen anything in his entire life until he took Mirapex.
"Mendota Heights School has had enough. After several cash thefts, the school decided to set up a sting to catch the thief. The school…decided to install surveillance cameras. The cameras rolled as a school maintenance worker searched through draws at the school.
According to the charges, 56-year-old Michael Adrian admitted that he had stolen from the school several times. The money, he said, was used for his gambling problem."—KSTP.com
"I was prescribed Mirapex four years ago for restless leg syndrome and it helped—for a while," says Mike. "About two years into it I slowly started gambling; it soon escalated and I had spent $12,000 of our savings without my wife knowing. Then I stole approximately $6,000 from the school where I was working.
"Ever since I was a kid, if I ever did something wrong or hurt someone, I would feel remorse, a sick feeling. But when I stole the money, I didn't feel anything—I went directly to the Mystic Lake Casino.
"The missing money was reported to the police and they started investigating; everyone was questioned, including me.
"At the time, I denied any knowledge, but within a few weeks I felt they were getting closer and closer to discovering that I was the thief. And I had a set of master keys to the building. I knew it was just a matter of time, so on March 1st I walked into the police station and turned myself in. The police said that I would be notified by the court—I was being charged with a felony of theft—of my trial date. Next, I went to the school. I expressed my regret and sorrow and promised I would pay them back. Of course I was immediately terminated and was told that I could never come back on campus grounds again unless invited.
"Before I went to the police, I told my wife what I had done. She was devastated; she broke down—she couldn't understand it. For a while we couldn't even talk.
"My health insurance was going to run out because I was fired, so I asked my doctor to renew all my prescriptions. She asked how I was doing. 'Terrible, it's a long story,' I replied, but she wanted to hear my story. As soon as I told her about the gambling and stealing, she jumped out of her chair and left the room. She returned with a handful of papers. 'You've been taking Mirapex and one of the side effects is compulsive gambling," she said, and told me to immediately stop taking it.
"I was shocked! I was so surprised I didn't know what to say, but I also had a sense of relief. What I did was never part of my makeup and Mirapex explained everything.
"I told my wife and she was also relieved. My attorney, however, recommended that I didn't tell school officials about the Mirapex. Last Tuesday I was in court for sentencing and right now I am just getting my head around all this. After I do 20 days in jail I will be on probation for five years; I have to pay $3,000 in court fees and fines and the school is requesting that I pay them back $23,000, taking into account the money I stole and improvements they made to their security system.
READ MORE MIRAPEX COMPULSIVE GAMBLING LEGAL NEWS
"I understand that Mirapex is often prescribed for Parkinson's disease as well as restless leg syndrome, but most people with Parkinson's are vulnerable and I think it's a crime to give them a medication that would cause compulsive behavior. I'm now taking Requip and it's working, so there is no reason why anyone should use Mirapex. Unfortunately I was never told of Mirapex side effects or given another option.
"I'm now 66 years old. My wife and I were planning to enjoy our retirement but I gambled away everything.…" Perhaps Mike will have the opportunity to have another day in court, but this time as a plaintiff—and the makers of Mirapex as defendants.