SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

November 20, 2012

Nurse in pill-theft case to get treatment

DANVERS — A nurse whose own recovery from surgery led to a painkiller addiction — and charges that she stole medications from elderly residents of an assisted-living facility last year — will be allowed to take part in a program aimed at treating drug offenders rather than simply punishing them.

On Friday, Salem Superior Court Judge Robert Cornetta signed off on Amy Martin’s participation in a specialized treatment program for addicted nurses.

If she takes part in the program and stays out of further trouble, she can ask that her case be dismissed in 18 months, said her lawyer, Mark Barry.

Under a seldom-used provision in state law, Chapter 111E, people arrested on drug or drug-related charges can ask to be evaluated to determine whether they are drug-dependent.

If they are, they can ask a judge to delay prosecution of the case for the length of time they would have potentially had to serve, up to 18 months, while they take part in a treatment program.

Martin, 30, of Marblehead, was a nurse at the Brightview assisted-living facility on Endicott Street in Danvers when, last year, a relative of one resident noticed that the pills in her aunt’s case looked different. Police used hidden cameras to catch Martin swapping generic Tylenol for Vicodin and oxycodone pills.

Her lawyer moved quickly to have Martin evaluated following her arraignment, and she began taking part in the program in March.

The program is called Nursing Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program, or SARP, and it’s run by the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Martin will also have to complete the full, five-year SARP program in order to regain her nursing license.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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