Drug Diversion: An Epidemic Explained
Most medication is prescribed by physicians, dispensed by pharmacists, and administered by nurses. Unfortunately, an alarming amount of this medication ends up in the pockets of medical staff instead of reaching the patients who depend on them. The following is an overview of the problem known as ‘drug diversion’.
What is Drug Diversion?
Drug diversion is using drugs for purposes not intended by the prescriber. Virtually any prescription drug can be subject to diversion for financial gain or personal use, but the most common are benzodiazepines, opioids, and stimulants.
It’s a crime that:
- Costs hospitals $25 billion a year in lost inventory
- Ruins reputations
- Carries severe punishment
- Dramatically decreases quality of care
Where Does it Happen?
Drug Diversion Happens Everywhere. And Anyone Can Be Responsible.
This multidisciplinary and multifactorial issue isn’t limited to hospitals or even pharmacy, nursing and medical staff. The diverting of drugs can be done anywhere and by anyone with access to the medication or prescription. Using controlled access medical storage is one of the best ways to protect against this threat.
Types of Drug Diversion
The less common and harder to prevent:
- Doctor Shopping
- Prescription Pad Theft and Forgery
- Illicit Prescribing
The most common and preventable:
- Drug Theft
Drug theft happens when medical staff gives patients smaller doses, falsifies records, or dispenses controlled substances in greater amounts than needed, among other things.
For an effective drug diversion program you need security from pharmacy to bedside, and Talon’s line of controlled access medical carts, cabinets, and carousels provide exactly that.
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