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Massachusetts Nurse Sentenced For Crimes That Fed Her Fentanyl Addiction

Updated: Jun 21




Over the course of the past several years, the Allegiant Experts Blog has kept a keen eye on our nation’s opioid epidemic. Fentanyl is just one of many opioids that are causing the nationwide crisis. This particular drug is a potent opioid that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as a pain reliever. However, the FDA reports that fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin as an analgesic. Needless to say, the drug can be highly addictive.

 

Known on the street under numerous names including China Girl, Dance Fever, He-Man, Jackpot and King Ivory, fentanyl can be snorted, sniffed, smoked or swallowed. It produces feelings of relaxation, euphoria and pain relief but can also cause confusion, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting among other side effects. “Overdose can cause stupor, changes in pupil size, clammy skin, cyanosis, coma, and respiratory failure leading to death,” reports the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

 

Former nurse sentenced for adulteration of fentanyl.

 

As reported by the District of Massachusetts branch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office last week, a former nurse was sentenced for adulteration of fentanyl at a Boston hospital. 39 year-old, Caroline Sheehan was given three years of probation. She was also ordered not to pursue employment that requires a registered nurse license or permits access to prescription narcotics. Sheehan pleaded guilty to one count of adulteration of a prescription drug with intent to defraud and mislead this past February.

 

“In March 2021, while working at a Massachusetts hospital, Sheehan removed a bag of intravenous fentanyl solution from an automated dispensing machine,” reports the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “Sheehan used a syringe to remove fentanyl from the IV bag, injected saline into the bag to replace the fentanyl she had removed and returned the bag to its drawer in the machine.”

 

A hospital employee saw a blood stain on the IV bag.

 

As a result, the employee removed the IV bag. Laboratory tests later confirmed that the bag contained less than the declared concentration of fentanyl from the machine before any of the adulterated fentanyl solution was administered to a patient. Later, Sheehan confessed she had withdrawn fentanyl from the IV bag. She replaced it with saline to avoid getting caught.

 

In addition, Sheehan admitted that she had been stealing prescription drugs from the hospital for months.  She replaced the siphoned drugs with saline solution. Her goal was to feed her substance abuse addiction. An addiction to fentanyl is certainly no small deal. The DEA informs that fentanyl overdose symptoms include coma, pinpoint pupils and respiratory depression.

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, synthetic opioids like fentanyl contribute to nearly 70% of overdose deaths. “Even in small doses, it can be deadly,” says their website, “Over the last few years, nonfatal and fatal overdoses involving fentanyl have continued to rise.”

 

Are you an attorney who is currently working a healthcare fraud case?

 

The clinical experts at Allegiant Experts can help you! We coordinate and support courageous whistleblowers that shine lights on fraud, waste and abuse. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 407-217-5831. You may also email us at info@allegiantexperts.com.

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