Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Patients harmed after health care providers steal patients' drugs, report finds

Date:
June 2, 2014
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
When prescription medicines are stolen or used illegally, it is called drug diversion. One aspect of drug diversion that is not well recognized involves health care providers who steal controlled substances for their personal use. A report outlines outbreaks of infections that have occurred as a result of health care providers stealing or tampering with their patients’ medications. These outbreaks revealed gaps in prevention, detection, and response to drug diversion.

When prescription medicines are stolen or used illegally, it is called drug diversion. One aspect of drug diversion that is not well recognized involves health care providers who steal controlled substances for their personal use. A report authored by experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) --published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings -- outlines outbreaks of infections that have occurred as a result of health care providers stealing or tampering with their patients' medications. These outbreaks revealed gaps in prevention, detection, and response to drug diversion.

Related Articles


"Patient harm stemming from diverting injectable drugs can include patients not obtaining adequate pain management, exposure to substandard care from an impaired provider, and exposure to life-threatening infections," according to study co-authors Melissa K. Schaefer, MD, and Joseph F. Perz, DrPH, of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, Atlanta, GA.

Over the past 10 years, outbreak investigations related to health care provider drug diversion have documented more than 100 infections and nearly 30,000 patients potentially exposed to bloodborne or bacterial pathogens. The frequency with which these events have been detected appears to be increasing.

The review identified six outbreaks within hospital settings located in eight states over a 10-year period beginning in 2004. Implicated health care professionals included three technicians and three nurses. In four of these outbreaks the implicated health care professional was infected with hepatitis C virus and served as the source of disease transmission to patients. Two other outbreaks resulted from improper drug handling by drug-diverting health care professionals infecting patients with bloodstream bacterial infections.

"The outbreaks we have identified illustrate some of the devastating and wide-reaching impacts of drug diversion in US health care settings," note Dr. Schaefer and Dr. Perz. "Health care facilities should ensure that patients safely receive medications as prescribed. This effort includes having systems in place to prevent drug diversion as well as developing protocols for early detection and appropriate response if, despite safeguards, diversion does occur."

To prevent diversion, health care facilities should enforce strong narcotics security measures and maintain active monitoring systems. Appropriate response when diversion is suspected or identified includes prompt reporting to enforcement agencies and assessment of harm to patients, including assessment of possible infection risks.

"This report serves notice that all health care facilities that house controlled substances or other drugs of abuse must have effective systems in place that deter drug diversion," comment Keith H. Berge, MD, and William L. Lanier, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, in an accompanying editorial. "Further, those facilities must be able to quickly and effectively investigate when a drug diversion is suspected in an effort to limit the number of patients potentially exposed to harm. The increasing incidence of drug diversion makes it mandatory that drug control be improved."

CDC provides several important resources for health care providers devoted to drug diversion:

CDC Injection Safety/Drug Diversion: www.cdc.gov/injectionsafety/drugdiversion

CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog feature on drug diversion: http://blogs.cdc.gov/safehealthcare/category/safe-injection

CDC's Safe Injection Campaign: www.oneandonlycampaign.org

Medscape's CDC Expert Commentary on drug diversion: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/825801


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Melissa K. Schaefer, Joseph F. Perz. Outbreaks of Infections Associated With Drug Diversion by US Health Care Personnel. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.04.007
  2. Keith H. Berge, William L. Lanier. Bloodstream Infection Outbreaks Related to Opioid-Diverting Health Care Workers. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.04.010

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Patients harmed after health care providers steal patients' drugs, report finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602204514.htm>.
Elsevier. (2014, June 2). Patients harmed after health care providers steal patients' drugs, report finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602204514.htm
Elsevier. "Patients harmed after health care providers steal patients' drugs, report finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140602204514.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

AP (Nov. 23, 2014) First came the big storm. Now comes the big melt for residents of flood-prone areas around Buffalo. New York's governor says officials are preparing for the worst as the temperature is expected to rise and potentially melt several feet of snow. (Nov. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) This is the latest development in an antitrust investigation accusing Google of unfairly prioritizing own products and services in search results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins