Drug diversion happens in healthcare when a medical professional steals medication from a patient for their own use or for monetary gain.
An accusation of drug diversion may occur when a patient does not receive their prescribed medication. Drug diversion puts patients at risk.
What are the risks to patients?
The risks to patients range from receiving inadequate care to being unsafe in the care of impaired providers. Patients may experience a lack of pain relief or needless suffering if they do not receive all of their pain medication. They may risk exposure to disease from contaminated needles. This can lead to disease outbreaks and have deadly consequences.
How does drug diversion occur?
Drug diversion can occur at any point between the manufacturing of the drug to when it reaches the patient. Common ways this occurs within the medical community include prescription pad theft, prescription forgery, not giving all of the prescribed drugs to the patient, using a substitute drug while diverting a controlled substance or administering drugs to a patient with a vial or IV bag and then keeping what is leftover for personal use.
What are the penalties for drug diversion?
An accusation of drug diversion can lead to the suspension of a medical license. If a patient suffers harm due to drug diversion by a medical professional, it can lead to the loss of license in addition to criminal charges.
In addition to putting patients at risk and their own careers and futures at risk, drug diversion by medical professionals puts their places of work at legal and financial risk if a patient suffers due to their actions. The reputation of the healthcare facility may also suffer.