SPOKANE, Wash. – A Spokane pharmacist is facing charges after admitting to stealing narcotic painkillers.

Court documents reveal Ross Bindler had been stealing hydrocodone since he was an intern in 2011. According to documents, Bindler was the only full time pharmacist at Yoke’s Fresh Market on North Foothills Drive.

Bindler was arrested this week for stealing hydrocodone pills from the pharmacy. He admitted to signing for pills, marking them as expired, and then taking them. Bindler told police since becoming the full time pharmacist he’s taken roughly 3,500 pills. He’s now facing theft and possession of a controlled substance charges.

The Spokane Regional Health District says the opioid problem in Spokane continues to increase, “I think we’re now seeing the increase in overdoses and unfortunately deaths, to signify to us that we’ve got a pretty big problem on our hands,” said Kim Papich with the Spokane Regional Health District.

In 2015, there were 82 accidental overdoses in Spokane County. In 2016, there were 115 accidental overdoses, which is about a 40 percent increase.

“The takeaway should be that no one is above opioid addiction, and we have nearly 1,000 patients on our methadone treatment program and a lot of them are just like you and me,” Papich said.