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Overall, healthcare professionals are 10-15% more likely to develop substance abuse issues than the general population.[1] As addiction to prescription medication has reached nation-wide epidemic proportions, it has become a major driver of drug diversion. Drug diversion occurs when prescription medicines are obtained or used illegally. Healthcare practitioners and facilities are the gatekeepers tasked with safeguarding prescription controlled substances. The failure of a facility to effectively prevent drug diversion leads to substandard care, the denial of essential pain medication or therapy, risk of infection, and even death. 

At minimum, an effective drug diversion program should be comprised of:

  • Policies and procedures (e.g., safe handling of medication, documentation practices);
  • Training annually and as needed;
  • Publicize – let staff know you are monitoring; and
  • Audits (e.g., verify orders against withdrawals).

For more practical advice on preventing, investigation, managing and reporting diversion incidents, join our webinar December 8, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. ET. Click here to register.


[1] Peter Grinspoon, M.D., Free Refills (2016).