A former surgical nurse at Mayo Clinic has pleaded guilty to a felony after authorities say she diverted a narcotic pain medication for her own use for more than a year — and shot it up while at work.

Connie Kay Stier, 60, of Chatfield, had been charged with a single count of felony theft in January in Olmsted County District Court. It was later amended to fifth-degree drug possession, which she pleaded guilty to on Friday.

Sentencing is set for June 29.

The criminal investigation began in July, after an internal investigation by Mayo Clinic Security. A co-worker of Stier's reported she believed Stier had tampered with a syringe containing Fentanyl that was to be administered to a patient. The co-worker had filled the syringe and labeled it; Stier thought the woman was going off shift and offered to administer the drug, the complaint says.

When the co-worker entered the patient's room, the syringe didn't have the original label on it, and appeared to have more liquid in it than she'd drawn up. The syringe was taken to Mayo's toxicology lab for evaluation; the report allegedly showed no Fentanyl in the syringe.

According to the criminal complaint, Stier told a Mayo official that she'd been diverting Fentanyl for about a year. She claimed she took only waste product, and didn't deny patients any pain medication if they needed it.

Stier had been injecting the Fentanyl only at work, the complaint says, using up to five or six times during her 12-hour shift. She reportedly used any vein that "stuck out."

Stier's locker was searched; a number of syringes and medication-related paraphernalia — including blank Fentanyl labels — were found.

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