Colorado Surgery Tech Gets 6.5 Years For Stealing Drug

A surgery technician who pleaded guilty to taking fentanyl intended for patients at a suburban Denver was sentenced Monday to more than six years in prison.

The theft of the powerful painkiller by Rocky Allen, a former Navy medic who is HIV positive, raised concerns that hundreds of patients may have been exposed to the disease through possibly contaminated needles.

Allen was fired in January from Swedish Medical Center after another worker saw Allen switch a fentanyl syringe for one containing saline.

Allen was also fired from a series of hospitals around the West after being suspected of stealing syringes and was court-martialed for stealing drugs while serving in Afghanistan in 2011. He said he suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

He was sentenced to 78 months in prison.