Medic sentenced for narcotics diversion

The Minn. man received three years of probation for “leaving vulnerable patients without the medicine they needed"


By Paul Walsh
Star Tribune 

Minneapolis — An Allina Health paramedic is serving probation for stealing potent pain medication from more than 100 ambulance patients to feed his addiction.

Matthew R. Peterson, 39, of Richfield, was sentenced last week in federal court in Minneapolis to three years of probation for “leaving vulnerable patients without the medicine they needed,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger.

His sentence also orders him to undergo regular drug testing and bars him from holding a job that provides access to controlled substances.

Peterson “abused his position of public trust by providing diluted pain medication to those facing critical health emergencies to fuel his own drug addiction,” said Dan Moren, Drug Enforcement Administration assistant special agent in charge. “Peterson’s reckless behavior not only denied patients relief from pain but also jeopardized their medical condition and potentially exposed them to contaminated medications.”

According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court:

From August 2013 to November 5, 2013, Peterson, who was then working as a paramedic for Allina Health, stole morphine and hydromorphone intended for ambulance patients. He extracted the drugs with a syringe and, in an effort to cover up his crime, replaced the liquid with a saline solution.

Peterson left more than 100 patients at greater risk of infection and pain as a result of his tampering. He reported himself once co-workers discovered what he was doing.

After inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment -- from which he was dismissed -- Peterson was discovered hiding under a trailer in a Bloomington fire station, where he was attempting to steal and use opioids. When questioned by law enforcement, Peterson admitted that he accessed the fire station to steal drugs. 

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©2015 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

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