September 3, 2021
Tips For Preventing Drug Diversion

Proper training, protocols and security can limit incidences of drug diversion

A hot topic brought to you by SpecialtyRx, your partner in long-term care


Drug diversion, the illegal use of prescription medications, requires stringent protocols to prevent it from happening within facilities. These tips can help management stay in control.

Employee Screenings

Before hiring anyone new, facilities should run criminal background checks, verify licenses, insist on drug screenings and inquire about any past history of drug diversion.


Every facility needs a diverse team, led by a designated diversion officer, dedicated to upholding a Control Substance Diversion Prevention Program (CSDPP).

Handling and Storing Medications

• Access to medication rooms should be limited to authorized individuals.
• Lock and secure all medication carts when not in use.
• Properly dispose of discontinued medications immediately.
• Multi-dose vials should be dated when opened and discarded accordingly.
• Place collection receptacles in a secured area.

Staff Training

All new hires should be trained and continuing education should be provided to all staff on the risks of diversion, reporting protocols and proper documentation.

Spotting the signs

Knowing what to look for can help facilities deal with drug diversion incidents quickly. Signs and symptoms can include:

• Impairment at work
• Excessive and unexplained absences
• Disappearances during shifts
• Lingering near drug supplies
• Decline in handwriting or charting
• Changes in performance
• Deteriorating personal appearance and hygiene
• Sudden resident complaints that medications aren’t working
• Anomalies in documentation
• Unexplained inventory discrepancies

“Healthcare facilities should establish clear and detailed policies/procedures related to medication security and drug diversion. At SpecialtyRx we help facilities in whatever way we can to help mitigate the problem,” stated Ankur Dave, Compliance Officer at SpecialtyRx.