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Butte nurse charged with stealing pain medications takes plea deal

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Shantyl Giacoletto

Giacoletto

A Butte nurse accused of stealing prescription pain medication from a hospital and nursing homes has pleaded guilty to three counts of unlawfully obtaining controlled substances.

Shantyl Giacoletto, 30, had previously pleaded not guilty to four counts but changed her pleas on three of them before U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen in Missoula on Thursday. In a plea deal, prosecutors dropped one count that alleged Giacoletto unlawfully obtained oxycodone and hydrocodone from Copper Ridge Health and Rehab in Butte.

Giacoletto was charged in April with unlawfully obtaining oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine pills from four health care facilities in Butte-Silver Bow, Anaconda-Deer Lodge and Powell counties.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison and fine up to $250,000. Sentencing was set for Oct. 13 and Giacoletto remains detained for now.

According to prosecutors, an employee at Community Hospital of Anaconda reported on June 17, 2021, oxycodone tablets had been stolen. The hospital’s drug distribution software showed a loss of 392 oxycodone pills over the past three months.

Hospital records showed Giacoletto regularly pulled oxycodone from the pharmacy but didn’t document administering it to patients, and a review of 50 patient files showed she did that on 49 occasions, charging documents state. Several patients confirmed they never received oxycodone.

Giacoletto allegedly denied stealing the oxycodone and quit shortly after she was confronted by management. When interviewed by police, Giacoletto again denied stealing and “claimed CHA was retaliating against her,” among other things, according to charging documents.

She was also accused of stealing oxycodone and hydrocodone from Continental Care and Rehabilitation in Butte last October. She was working there as a traveling nurse and was one of three individuals who had access to narcotics at the time, according to court documents.

Records showed 26 hydrocodone tablets and 80 oxycodone tablets were missing. Prosecutors say multiple medication logs were torn, many drugs had been marked as “destroyed” with no nurse signature and at least two patient files were “improperly altered.”

Management then announced a drug screening and “most nurses provided samples which were negative for the diverted drugs,” except Giacoletto, who didn’t submit to the screening and stopped working there, charging documents state.

Giacoletto also pleaded guilty to a charge alleging she obtained oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine illegally from The Ivy at Deer Lodge from in November.

The director of nursing there said a drug count on Nov. 21, 2021, revealed 52 oxycodone tablets and 27 morphine tablets were missing, and its count on Nov. 23, 2021, showed 115 oxycodone and 60 hydrocodone pills were missing, according to court documents.

The director then reportedly requested urine samples from all staff who worked those days, all of whom complied and tested negative, except Giacoletto, who allegedly refused and left the facility.

When Mountain Medical, her employer, instructed her to provide a sample, she reportedly returned to The Ivy and “requested a specific bathroom for the drug test. When she provided the sample, it was cold, and the result was inconclusive as the temperature was not within the approved testing range,” documents state.

The patient logbooks for both days reportedly included pages that were “crossed out, folded over and not signed as required by The Ivy’s policy.”

Giacoletto was allegedly the only person with access to the medication cart on both days, the document says.

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