Develop a Drug Diversion Prevention Program

This is the first in a series of two articles on institutional drug diversion authored by Kimberly New, JD, BSN, RN.

“Traditionally, health care institutions regarded incidents of drug diversion as isolated events. The most basic forms often were discovered through end-of-shift drug counts, and the employee deemed culpable usually was terminated without outside reporting or follow up.”

“However, over the course of the last 2 decades, our understanding of institutional drug diversion has evolved; now it is recognized as a pervasive threat to both patient and employee safety. As such, it is an issue that requires perpetual vigilance and management expertise to detect and prevent.”

“Although diversion likely occurs at most institutions where controlled substances are administered, reliable data on its prevalence are lacking, reflecting what is a clandestine activity by nature. Many cases of diversion are never discovered, and those that are identified rarely are reported outside the institution. For example, estimates of the number of hospital nurses that divert vary widely, and few are founded in systematically acquired data. In one of the only published systematic studies available, 6.6% of nurses reported illicit use of prescription-type drugs within the past year.1 And actual incidence may be much higher. Anecdotally, a 550- bed hospital where I worked previously uncovered an average of two nurses diverting each month.”

Continue reading part 1 of this article by clicking the following PDF link:

Develop a Drug Diversion Prevention Program

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