BOISE, Idaho — A Boise nurse who admitted to swiping vials of the powerful pain medication fentanyl from the hospital where she worked was sentenced Tuesday to three years of probation.
In addition, Senior U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge ordered Jennifer L. Fanopoulos to wear a charm bracelet with photos of her children - a constant reminder designed to pull her back from the brink if she reached for drugs or alcohol again, the judge said.
Fanopoulos, 41, pleaded guilty to obtaining controlled substances by fraud in October.
According to court records, as an R.N., Fanopoulos had access to the hospital's Pyxis machine, an automated system set up to store and dispense prescription drugs, including medications deemed "high-risk."
At least 28 times between Sept. 29, 2017 and Nov 14, 2017, Fanopoulos used falsified information to get 100mcg/2mL vials of fentanyl out of the system. In at least some of those cases, according to the plea deal, she used her own fingerprint and username to log in, then plugged in real patient names and ID numbers, even though those patients did not actually have a valid order for the medication.
Charges of felony identity theft for using those names and identification numbers were dropped as part of the plea agreement. Information about which Boise hospital employed Fanopoulos was not included in court filings.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid used to treat severe pain, can be 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl abuse has risen in recent years, and carries a serious risk of overdose death due to its potency.
Court documents suggest that Fanopoulos was herself grappling with prescription drug addiction, rather than stealing the vials to resell. As part of her sentence, the defendant was ordered to enter programs for both drug and alcohol abuse and mental health treatment, as well as complete 300 hours of community service.