Nursing Home Employee Steals Morphine, Replaces with Water

A Virginia woman pleaded guilty to tampering with a pharmaceutical product intended for nursing home patients.

Morphine Bottle
Morphine Bottle

A recent WSLS article featured a bizarre story that’s a new twist on the age-old “sneaking booze from your parents’ liquor cabinet” concept. A nursing home employee tampered with liquid morphine bottles intended for her patients, took the drug herself, and then replaced the missing liquid with tap water. The diluted morphine was then administered to the patients. The mishap could’ve been detected sooner had the morphine been stored in tamper-evident bottles.

“FDA oversees the U.S. supply of medicines to ensure that they are safe and effective, and those who knowingly tamper with medicines for patients put their health at risk,” said Mark S. McCormack, special agent in charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations’ Metro Washington field office. “Our office will continue to pursue and bring justice to those who violate laws designed to protect the public health.” The 40-year-old woman faces up to 51 months in prison, and a fine up to $250,000.

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