Dighton nurse pleads guilty to stealing pain relief meds from hospice patient for a month
BOSTON – A Dighton registered nurse pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to drug tampering.
Marietta Strickland, 61, pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product, specifically the Schedule II controlled substance oxycodone, which is used for pain relief. U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani scheduled sentencing for Jan. 19, 2021. Strickland was charged by Information in June 2020.
While working as a registered nurse at Dighton Care and Rehabilitation Center, Strickland tampered with three blister card packages of oxycodone prescribed to an 89-year-old hospice patient who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, severe dementia and breast cancer. To avoid detection, Strickland replaced the stolen oxycodone pills with other prescription drugs disguised to look like oxycodone. As a result of Strickland’s tampering, the victim was deprived of her prescribed oxycodone for a month and ingested at least 77 unnecessary prescription tablets.
The charging statute provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Jeffrey Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations; Phillip Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General; and Acting Commissioner Margaret Cooke, of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elysa Wan of Lelling’s Health Care Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.