EMT swapped fentanyl for another liquid while working for ambulance service, feds say

A former EMT has pleaded guilty after prosecutors said she tampered with vials of liquid fentanyl in an ambulance service’s drug kit and replaced the drug with another substance while on the job in Massachusetts.

By swapping fentanyl citrate — intended to treat extreme pain — inside three vials of saline, ambulance patients were put at risk, court documents say. The saline solution could have been illegally given to patients during an emergency.

Candice Mangan, 43, of Medford, faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to counterfeiting a consumer product in federal court in Boston on Aug. 31, according to a Sept. 6 news release from the District Attorney’s Office of the USA. Massachusetts area.

“The serious consequences of the opioid crisis extend far beyond the street trafficking of heroin and fentanyl, which continues at an alarming rate,” U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement.

Fentanyl is a powerful and addictive opioid much more powerful than morphine. It was created medicinally for pain management, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Mangan’s attorney, Brian Murphy, said in a statement to McClatchy News that his client “deeply regrets her actions and the disappointment of those who depend on her” and that she “suffers from drug addiction.”

“She apologizes to those whose trust she betrayed and regrets that she failed to address her addiction sooner and more successfully.”

From March 2020 to October of that year, Mangan worked part-time for Cataldo Ambulance Service while being a licensed EMT paramedic in Massachusetts, prosecutors say.

On Sept. 30, 2020, while working a shift in Needham, he opened a drug box containing four vials of fentanyl citrate and removed the substance with a three-vial syringe, court documents state. The three vials were replaced with saline.

“The liquid remaining in the three vials contained only approximately 4.4%, 6.8%, and 24.2% of the declared concentration of fentanyl citrate,” the release states.

Mangan took the fourth vial of fentanyl and placed the “counterfeit” syringes back into the drug box before resealing it to give the appearance that it had never been opened, according to a statement of facts.

While working for the ambulance service, Mangan is believed to have tampered with more vials of fentanyl at other locations in Massachusetts, court documents state.

“Those who knowingly tamper with medications put patients’ health at risk,” Fernando P. McMillan, the special agent in charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigation in New York, said in the statement.

Murphy, Mangan’s attorney, said his client’s drug addiction “began as a result of physical pain from illnesses acquired during his life as a firefighter and paramedic.”

Her addiction was then “later compounded by the trauma of working in an ambulance during the COVID pandemic,” Murphy added.

“Candice is committed to giving back to her community by rebuilding her life with sobriety with a focus on helping other first responders suffering from addiction overcome the challenges they face and address their unique stressors so they can avoid the mistakes they make. has done”.

Mangan also faces a fine of up to $250,000 in connection with her guilty plea, the release said.

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