Dorchester Nurse Practitioner Pleads Guilty, Sentenced in Connection with Illegally Prescribing Painkillers
Defendant Illegally Prescribed Thousands of Oxycodone, Lorazepam and Clonazepam Pills to Family and Friends
BOSTON – A Dorchester nurse practitioner has pleaded guilty and been sentenced in connection with illegally prescribing painkillers to her family members and friends across the state, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Roberta Regan, age 51, pleaded guilty today in Suffolk Superior Court to the charges of Illegally Prescribing Oxycodone (10 counts), Unlawful Prescription of Lorazepam (one count) and Unlawful Prescription of Clonazepam (one count).
Following the plea, Judge Rosalind Miller sentenced Regan to serve a two-year sentence in the House of Correction, suspended for five years of probation, with the conditions that she not use any illegal drugs or consume alcohol and submit to random drug and alcohol screens, complete a substance abuse program, not seek a DEA registration number, not work in the medical field. She also must have any employment approved in advance by probation and a Superior Court judge.
“This defendant abused her position as a nurse practitioner and illegally prescribed thousands of powerful painkillers to people who were not her patients and many of whom later became addicted,” said AG Healey. “We will continue to work with federal and state partners to combat actions like these that put drugs in the hands of those battling with addiction.”
Regan was indicted by a Statewide Grand Jury on June 30 on charges that stemmed from incidents in Suffolk, Norfolk, and Plymouth counties.
This case is the result of a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Attorney General’s Office. The case was referred to the DEA after Regan was terminated from her employment as a nurse practitioner at MetroWest Medical Center for misusing hospital prescription pads. The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program revealed Regan had written 119 prescriptions over a one-year period for a total of 10,007 tablets and of those only 12 were prescribed to legitimate patients at the medical center.
“DEA registrants, to include nurse practitioners are responsible to handle controlled substances in compliance with the Controlled Substance Act,” said Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Ferguson. “The diversion of prescription pain killers, in this case oxycodone, contributes to the widespread abuse of opiates which, is a gateway to heroin addiction and is devastating our communities. In response to the ongoing opioid epidemic DEA is committed to working with our law enforcement and regulatory partners to ensure that these rules and regulations are followed. This investigation demonstrates the strength of collaborative efforts in Massachusetts and our strong partnership with Attorney General Healy’s Office to aggressively pursue anyone that illegally prescribes these drugs.”
The investigation revealed Regan was writing prescriptions for family members and friends and then would often receive a portion of the pills back in exchange for writing the prescription. While some of the people who received the illegal prescriptions used the pills to treat various levels of pain, they were never patients of Regan and many developed some level of addiction.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Megan McLaughlin, of AG Healey’s Enterprise, Major and Cyber Crimes Division, with assistance from Victim Witness Advocate Megan Murphy, of the AG’s Victim Witness Services Division. The case was investigated by DEA’s New England Field Division and the AG’s Office.