Nurse admits stealing patients’ painkillers

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SAN DIEGO — A registered nurse from San Diego pleaded guilty Thursday to siphoning off a generic form of the painkiller Demerol from vials at her La Jolla clinic and replacing them with saline solution.

Sarah Elizabeth Martin, 25, was employed at the clinic from last October through March 24. Her responsibilities included administering the drug to patients.

Martin admitted that she removed the drug from the vials with a syringe and replaced it with saline solution. She acknowledged that in order to conceal what she did, she glued the caps back on the vials and placed them back in a locker at the clinic with other drugs to be given to patients.

The adulterated drugs were administered to between 50-250 patients at the clinic, according to court papers.

Prosecutors said here is no evidence that Martin’s conduct harmed anyone, or involved a conscious or reckless risk of death or serious bodily injury.

As part of her plea, Martin agreed to make restitution to the clinic for the cost of the adulterated drugs and to successfully complete six months of residential drug treatment.

Martin is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 21.

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