Drug Diversion Is a Crime and Infection Risk

October 3, 2012 | Risk Management News

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Healthcare organizations must be vigilant against drug diversion, according to the webinar Preventing Theft of Drugs and Controlled Substances—a Patient Safety Imperative, presented by Premier Inc. on Wednesday, September 26. Joseph F. Perz, Dr.P.H., M.A., team leader, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed several cases of drug diversion in the media. Specifically, he focused on the growing awareness of drug diversion as a patient safety threat; for example, in one case, a hospital staff member with hepatitis C spread the infection when he injected himself with fentanyl, then refilled the used syringes with saline. Diversion prevention strategies must extend beyond education, he stressed. Keith H. Berge, M.D., chair of Mayo Clinic’s Medication Diversion Prevention Committee and member of the Department of Anesthesia, and Kevin R. Dillon, Pharm.D. , M.P.H., director of pharmacy services at the Mayo Clinic, spoke about Mayo Clinic’s approach to drug diversion prevention. “Diversion is a crime,” stated Berge and Dillon. They explained that, while some see addiction as a “victimless crime,” it in fact puts patients, the addicted staff member, coworkers, the employer, and society at risk.

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