Mass. Nurse Skimmed Morphine from Dementia Patient in Nursing Home

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Medical concept showing medical a medical vial reading Morphine and a syringe

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETS – A registered nurse was arrested yesterday in connection with tampering with morphine prescribed to a nursing home resident in her care.  

Gwen Rider, 41, of Northborough, was indicted on one count of tampering with a consumer product and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and deception. Rider was released on conditions after making an initial appearance in federal court in Worcester this afternoon.

According to the indictment, Rider was a registered nurse employed by a Worcester county nursing home. From approximately 11:00 p.m. on Nov. 6, 2020 until 7:00 a.m. the following morning, Rider was on duty in a unit specializing in care for residents suffering from dementia. During her shift and while entrusted with the care of a resident suffering from dementia, Rider allegedly tampered with a bottle of morphine sulfate prescribed to the patient by removing some of the morphine and tampering with the remaining supply. Morphine sulfate is a Schedule II controlled substance under federal law.


The charge of tampering with a consumer product provides for a sentence up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and deception provides for a sentence of up to four years in prison, up to one year 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.

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