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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 6, 2019

Jacksonville Nurse Pleads Guilty To Tampering With Injectable Painkillers By Substituting Saline For Medication

Jacksonville, Florida – Taniko Hampton (38, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to tampering with a consumer product. She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, on multiple occasions in 2017 and 2018, while working as a nurse in Jacksonville-area hospitals, Hampton extracted the painkiller hydromorphone (also known as Dilaudid) from syringes in the hospitals’ inventories, replaced the drug with saline, and then returned the syringes for use by future patients. A review of hospital records showed that Hampton was obtaining drugs purportedly for patient use, but then returning them supposedly unused, at 10 times the rate of her nursing peers. Further, in at least one instance, Hampton obtained a Dilaudid syringe for a patient who was not assigned to her, and who had not complained of pain, before returning the syringe purportedly unused.

When confronted by a supervisor, Hampton eventually admitted that she had been diverting drugs from patients for her personal use for months. She later told Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office detectives that she had been removing the Dilaudid from the syringes, replacing them with saline, and then returning the syringes to the hospital inventory. Hampton admitted that removing medicine from syringes and replacing it with saline could result in patients receiving injections that were not sterile and that lacked prescribed quantities of necessary medication, which could lead to increased risks of bodily injury and possibly death.

This case was investigated by the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Coolican.

Attachment(s): 
Topic(s): 
Consumer Protection
Opioids
Component(s): 
Updated December 6, 2019