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Former nurse sentenced to 36 months for tampering with pain killer

Oct 28, 2021, 4:55 PM | Updated: 8:36 pm
FILE: Salt Lake City Courthouse, courtesy of Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Former nurse, Nathan Pehrson, 41 of Sandy has been sentenced to 36 months in federal prison after a federal jury in the District Court of Utah convicted him of three counts of ‘fraudulently obtaining and tampering’ with pain killer, hydromorphone, a opioid used to for pain management yesterday.

After Pehrson completes his sentence at the federal prison, he will be under federal supervision for 36 months. 

“We hope that this sentence of three years in federal prison deters every healthcare professional from using or diverting prescription narcotics,” said Acting United States Attorney Andrea T. Martinez. “We commend the work of the hospital staff who discovered and reported the illegal activity along with the work of our partners at the FDA for investigating this matter.”

Previously, a jury found Pehrson had, while working as a nurse on a surgical and trauma unit, used syringes of hydromorphone for his own use. The jury also found that he then filled the syringes with saline solution and returned the syringes to staff and patients.

“The FDA oversees the U.S. drug supply to ensure that it is safe and effective, and those who knowingly tamper with medicines put patients’ health at risk,” said Special Agent in Charge Charles L. Grinstead, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations Kansas City Field Office. “We will continue to protect the public health and bring to justice health care professionals who take advantage of their unique position and compromise their patients’ health and comfort by tampering with needed drugs.”

Pehrson was also convicted of making an inaccurate statement regarding his activity to a special agent at the Food and Drug Administration during an investigation.

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