Nurse accused of stealing fentanyl from Winston-Salem hospital

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A 28-year-old nurse at Forsyth Medical Center is accused of stealing vials of the opioid fentanyl from the Winston-Salem hospital, according to a press release.

Hayley Lammon Brown, of Elkin, was arrested on Monday. She is charged with one count of embezzlement of a controlled substance by employee and one misdemeanor count of assault on a law enforcement officer.

Investigators say Brown, a registered nurse at the time of the offense, was stealing the drug for personal use.

On April 20, Elkin police officers went to her home in the 100 block of Memorial Park Drive after a call about a possible drug overdose involving her husband, Matthew Brown.

While investigating, Sgt. Joseph Johnson reported handling several vials of the stolen opioid. He was exposed to the drug through his bare hands and required hospitalization before making a full recovery

Brown’s nursing license has been suspended by the N.C. Board of Nursing and Forsyth Medical Center terminated her employment, the release said.

“Fentanyl is a very potent drug, more potent than heroin, 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and the cause of nearly half of fatal drug overdoses,” said John Keane, special agent in charge of the SBI’s Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit. “Breaking an addiction to fentanyl is a steep uphill battle, and the SBI, along with many other agencies, urge the utmost caution to consumers who are prescribed painkillers by their doctors.”

Novant Health released a statement Tuesday morning on the incident:

Novant Health takes any allegation of illegal activity very seriously. We are cooperating fully with the investigation. While it is corporate policy not to comment on investigations in progress, you can be assured that if illegal activity is discovered, we will assist the authorities in prosecuting offenders and take any appropriate steps to prevent the reoccurence."

She was taken to jail and has since been released on a $5,000 bond.