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Why drug diversion is a threat to patient safety

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2021 | Medical Licensing

Health care workers face undeniably tough jobs, and their jobs have continued to become even more difficult in recent years. Sometimes, health care workers turn to drugs to help combat the pressures of their day-to-day lives. Drug diversion occurs when a doctor, nurse or other health care worker accesses prescription drugs through his or her place of employment and uses those medications for personal use.

Per HealthLeaders Media, about 10% of American health care workers are currently abusing drugs. Diversion of opioids is particularly pervasive in American society right now. Research shows that only a fraction of health care workers who divert drugs from their employers wind up getting caught. However, many who do face serious, potentially career-altering consequences.

Repercussions of drug diversion in health care settings

Using prescription medications intended for someone else may hinder a health care worker’s ability to provide quality care. It may shift the health care worker’s focus away from the patient, making him or her more focused on finding drugs to fuel the substance dependency. Prescription drug use may also make a health care worker more likely to make diagnostic or medication errors, among others. It may also lead to botched surgeries, missed diagnoses and similar negative events.

Career-related repercussions of drug diversion

Health care workers who divert drugs from their employers may face criminal or civil penalties. They may, too, jeopardize their professional licenses or have to appear before the state nursing board or another type of medical board.

Health care workers facing allegations of drug diversion may want to consult The Law Offices of Brian E. Quinn before deciding how to move forward.