Skip to main content
Press Release

Former Nurse Sentenced for Adulteration of Fentanyl

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A former nurse was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for adulteration of fentanyl at a local hospital.

Caroline Sheehan, 39, of Lowell, Mass., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Angel Kelley to three years of probation and ordered not to pursue employment that requires a registered nurse license or permits access to prescription narcotics. In February 2024, Sheehan pleaded guilty to one count of adulteration of a prescription drug with intent to defraud and mislead.

In March 2021, while working at a Massachusetts hospital, Sheehan removed a bag of intravenous fentanyl solution from an automated dispensing machine. 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 and removed the IV bag, which laboratory testing confirmed contained less than the declared concentration of fentanyl, from the machine before any of the adulterated fentanyl solution was administered to a patient. Sheehan later admitted that she had withdrawn fentanyl from the IV bag and replaced it with saline to avoid getting caught. Sheehan later admitted that she had been stealing prescription drugs from the hospital for months, replacing the siphoned drugs with saline solution, to feed her substance abuse addiction. 

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Fernando McMillan, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations; Robert Coviello, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General; and Robert H. Goldstein, MD, PhD, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Begg Lawrence, Chief of the Health Care Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.

Updated June 13, 2024

Prescription Drugs
Health Care Fraud