How One Oxycontin Pill Ruined The Life Of A Former Merrill Broker


Photo: Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Mike Rigg’s has a incredible story about how a former Merrill Lynch stockbroker named “James” destroyed his career in finance all thanks to a single Oxycontin pill he never even took. The story offers a remarkable example of how devastating and silly the drug war is.

Back in 2006, James, who was 24 and attending grad school for his MBA while working full time at Merrill, was pulled over for speeding after a concert in Florida. 

During a search, police found a single Oxycontin pill in his pocket and arrested him for illegal possession of the drug.  

James told Reason that a friend gave him the pill for the show, but he decided against taking it.  He also told Reason that he had never taken Oxycontin in his entire life.  

His attorney told him to plead no-contest explaining that he would probably just get probation and then have his record expunged, James told Reason. 

However, the fallout from having that one pill was much worse than he ever anticipated.

Here’s what he said went down: 

  • He had to immediately disclose the arrest to his employer.  He said his boss told him it should be fine initially.  Still, he had to alter his broker’s licence to show the arrest and shortly after that he was fired from Merrill Lynch. 
  • Even though he wasn’t a drug addict and he said he had never taken Oxycontin, he still had to attend two Narcotic Anonymous meetings per week for a year.
  • In addition, he also had to pay for 15 weekend-long state-run drug classes.
  • Another part of his punishment was a curfew where he had to be inside his house from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day for a year.  This lead him to drop out of school because he couldn’t do the classes at night. 

Unable to find employment at a financial firm, James ended up taking a job as as a short order cook.

And that’s just the beginning of his nightmarish ordeal. Read the rest of the story at >

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