Registered Nurse Sentenced for Drug Diversion

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BOSTON – A Dighton registered nurse was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for drug tampering.

Marietta Strickland, 61, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to 15 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In October 2020, Strickland pleaded guilty to one count of tampering with a consumer product, specifically the Schedule II controlled substance oxycodone, which is used for pain relief.

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 at least a month and ingested at least 77 unnecessary prescription tablets.

Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Jeffrey Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations; Phillip M. 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 Mendell’s Health Care Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.

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