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Illinois nurse charged with diluting nursing home patient's morphine

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CBS News Chicago Live

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An Illinois nurse has been indicted on federal charges, accused of diluting a nursing home patient's prescribed morphine in 2021.

Federal prosecutors said Nickole Butler, 40, worked as a registered nurse at a skilled nursing facility in northern Illinois.

On May 16, 2021, she removed the liquid morphine prescribed to a patient, and replaced it with morphine diluted with another liquid, "with reckless disregard for the risk that another person would be placed in danger of bodily injury and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to such risk," according to the indictment.

"Patients deserve to have confidence that they are receiving the legitimately prescribed medication and not a diluted substance," Morris Pasqual, Acting U.S. Attorney for Chicago, said in a news release.  "Health care practitioners who illicitly tamper with prescription drugs will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Butler is from Byron, Illinois, about 15 miles southwest of Rockford. The indictment does not say where the nursing home she worked at is located.

She has been charged with one count of tampering with a consumer product, and pleaded not guilty at her arraignment in federal court in Chicago on Thursday.

Her next court date was not immediately available.

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