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Massachusetts Nurse Pleads Guilty To Drug Diversion Charge

“Drug diversion” refers to the transferring of a legally prescribed drug from the individual it was intended for to another person for illegal use. Drug diversion is also a term that is loosely used to describe incidents in which prescribed controlled substances are used for purposes other than their original medical purposes.

“Many problems associated with drug abuse are the result of legitimately made controlled substances being diverted from their lawful purpose into illicit drug traffic,” explains the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, “The mission of DEA’s Diversion Control Division is to prevent, detect, and investigate the diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals and listed chemicals from legitimate sources while ensuring an adequate and uninterrupted supply for legitimate medical, commercial, and scientific needs.”

Any act of drug diversion is against the law.

32 year-old Brianna Duffy of Haverhill, Massachusetts found that out the hard way, earlier this week. As reported by the District of Massachusetts branch of the United States Department of Justice this past Monday, Duffy pleaded guilty in a Boston federal court to tampering with patients’ morphine.

Officially, she entered a guilty plea to one count of tampering with a consumer product and one count of acquiring a controlled substance by fraud or deception. Her sentencing is scheduled for September 14th of this year.

Duffy was indicted in July of last year.

At one point, she worked as a registered nurse at Maplewood Care and Rehabilitation Center in Amesbury, Massachusetts. Between December 2016 until July 2017, at this location, Duffy diverted morphine from two bottles that were prescribed to a 68-year old patient.

She removed morphine from the bottles and diluted the remaining morphine with another liquid. This left only 1.2% to 2.5% of the declared concentration of morphine in the bottles. Apparently, she used the medication herself. Duffy ended up testing positive for morphine on July 18, 2017.

Duffy also worked at Hunt Nursing and Rehab in Danvers.

According to the DoJ report, Duffy continued her illegal activity between March 17 and 18 of 2019. While working as a registered nurse at Hunt Nursing and Rehab, she tampered with morphine sulphate. It was prescribed to an 89-year old hospice patient.

She attempted to avoid detection by replacing the extracted medication with another liquid. This diluted the morphine to just 26% of the prescribed concentration. Because of these actions, the hospice patient who received the diluted morphine suffered unnecessary pain.

“The charges provide for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000,” explains the DoJ, “Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.”

Are you an attorney who is currently trying a health care fraud case?

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