Addressing Drug Diversion in Healthcare: Where Do I Start?

October 11, 2018

Drug diversion in healthcare facilities has become a visible and growing problem. The impact can be broad, touching patients, care providers, drug diverters, and the community at large. And the U.S. Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Agency have begun ramping up efforts to stop drug diversion in its tracks.

Drug Diversion May Go Undetected and Underreported

Even facilities that are catching and reporting incidents of drug diversion, however, can find themselves overwhelmed with the task of detecting, investigating, and preventing future incidents. In fact, Commander John Burke, president of Pharmaceutical Diversion Education, calculated that there are roughly 37,000 incidents of drug diversion throughout the U.S. in any given year — while the numbers actually reported are far lower than that, at around 350 incidents per year nationwide. This indicates that the full scope of drug diversion has been largely undetected by many facilities, and that reporting of incidents may be falling short of the recommended standard.

What Exactly is Drug Diversion — and What Can I Do About It In My Facility?

Burke has been a law enforcement officer for over 49 years. For 32 years, he worked with the Cincinnati Police Department; nine of those years were spent formally in charge of the department’s pharmaceutical and diversion squad. According to him, drug diversion is best defined as “any act or deviation that removes a prescription drug from its intended path from the manufacturer to the patient.”

While drug diversion can occur in a number of ways, his discussion on the webinar “Addressing Drug Diversion in Healthcare: Where Do I Start?” focused on scenarios that occur within healthcare facilities by employees of the facilities. In the vast majority of these cases, the diversion is fueled by addiction rather than personal financial gain. So while it’s important to catch, report, and address drug diversion incidents, some of the most cutting-edge healthcare organizations addressing drug diversion are also looking at how they can best work with and treat the employees who now find themselves at rock bottom.

Learn the Essentials of a Drug Diversion Program

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • What exactly constitutes drug diversion in a healthcare facility, and the most common indicators that employees may be diverting and abusing drugs.
  • Which drugs are most often diverted in a healthcare setting — plus, a surprising fact about the types of people engaged in drug diversion.
  • The ways drug diversion can affect care providers, patients, and drug diverters.
  • The 9 key components of an effective, full lifecycle drug monitoring program.

“Addressing Drug Diversion in Healthcare: Where Do I Start?” also reveals:

  • How to secure support from your board, executives, and HR departments to best address the issue both before and after the fact.
  • Best practices for forming a drug diversion committee, including key stakeholders to include in the conversation.
  • How to effectively train staff to identify addicts — and the best way to encourage reporting of any suspected incidents.
  • The most important considerations for hiring and empowering your drug diversion investigator.
  • The essential steps for proactively monitoring for drug diversion to spot incidents before they spiral out of control.
  • How to properly report drug diversion incidents to the authorities to maintain compliance and security at your facility.
  • The best way to help addicted employees seek rehabilitation.
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