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Drug diversion has serious consequences for doctors, nurses

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2021 | Uncategorized |

Drug diversion, or the act of medical professionals taking and using prescription drugs intended for patients, is a growing problem across Missouri and many other parts of the nation. Diverting and using drugs while caring for patients has the potential to hurt the quality of care a medical professional provides. It may, too, place their professional licenses in jeopardy.

According to NPR, drug theft in hospitals across the nation is on a steady incline. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigated about 3,600 allegations of drug diversion in American hospitals over a recent five-year span.

How drug diversion affects patient safety

When health care professionals divert drugs intended for patients, it may mean the patient fails to receive adequate amounts of medication. This may cause him or her to experience considerable pain. Health care professionals who divert drugs may also have problems administering medications in time or remembering to administer them at all, among other issues. Some instances of drug diversion have also led to infectious disease outbreaks at hospitals and other health care centers.

How drug diversion impacts health care workers

Health care workers caught diverting drugs may have to appear and plead their cases before a nursing or other credentialing board, depending on their health care role. Depending on the outcome, they stand to lose their professional licenses and ability to continue to make their living in health care. Health care workers held accountable for diverting drugs from their workplaces may also face civil or criminal penalties.

Not every allegation of drug diversion leads to the loss of a professional license. Some medical professionals successfully defend themselves against such allegations and continue their careers in health care.