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Ex-nurse sentenced for injecting opioids meant for patients at a Winston-Salem hospital

A picture of a syringe.

A Virginia woman who worked as a nurse in North Carolina has been sentenced to more than four years in prison after investigators said she injected herself with opioids intended for surgical patients and replaced them with saline solution, authorities said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina said in a news release that Emilee Kathryn Poteat, 32, of Danville, Virginia, pleaded guilty last December to tampering with a consumer product. She was sentenced on Wednesday.

Poteat also has to pay a $3,000 fine and will be on three years of supervised release once she is out of prison, the news release said. She's already serving a three-year prison sentence for tampering with consumer products at a Danville hospital.

Prosecutors said Poteat worked as a contract nurse at a Winston-Salem hospital from July to November 2020 and had access to a machine that stored vials of injectable hydromorphone, an opioid derived from morphine.

Poteat removed the vials and injected the drug, then injected saline solution into the vials to cover her actions and used glue to replace the vial lids, prosecutors said. An investigator said Poteat admitted that she had tampered with the vials of hydromorphone.

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