A major problem in hospitals over the past few years, drug diversion is the illegal distribution or abuse of prescription drugs or their use for unintended purposes. The hospital policy is very strict regarding partial doses of controlled substances, like opioids and benzodiazepines. The protocol calls for employees to “waste” any excess medications while being observed by another employee. Needless to say, the standard wasn’t always followed. Sometimes the hectic hospital environment wouldn’t allow for it. In other situations, employees felt insulted to have to watch a coworker physically dispose of the medication. And drug-abusing nurses would take what’s known as the waste to use for themselves.
In today’s economic climate, many hospitals have a tendency to place profits over patient safety, and Orlando Memorial Medical Center is no exception. Worse than that, though, is their tendency to cover up these serious patient safety problems. Much of what happens in hospitals flies under the radar, and one of the biggest issues is the matter of drug diversion.
With this issue so prevalent, a hospital’s reputation could be on the line if the press were to hear about this type of situation. The hospital would be at risk of a lawsuit, decreased employee morale, and the possibility of even a greater staffing shortage. Since the bottom line is always money, the added expense of having to hire and train additional staff would severely impact the hospital’s financial burden.
~ Excerpt from Critical Cover-Up, a psychological thriller, now available in paperback and digital formats on Amazon and retail bookstores.
What has been your experience with drug diversion? Have you worked with nurses who were caught diverting drugs? Please leave a comment.