Part I: The Pursuit of Prevention – Confronting Drug Diversion


Drug diversion is a serious problem that affects patients’ and health professionals’ safety. Patients may suffer from suboptimal therapy if their medications were diverted, receive substandard care from impaired healthcare workers, or be at risk for adverse drug reactions or blood stream infections if they are provided with medications they should not receive or adulterated products in place of the intended therapy.

One challenge for health facilities is the requirement to secure and dispose of controlled substance waste every day, some of which require specific handling and protocols for safety. Healthcare organizations that use controlled substances must maintain detailed records and require drug disposal to be witnessed. Part I of this 2-part series will highlight how to confront drug diversion through the lens of a drug diversion program manager. Part II will look at drug diversion through the lens of a risk manager and their role to reduce risk in hospitals and healthcare facilities as well as the impact of diversion on infection outbreaks from the lens of an infection control preventionist.

Intended Audience:

  • Medication Safety and Patient Safety Officers

  • Risk Management and Quality Managers

  • Medication Safety Committees

  • Nurses

  • Pharmacists

  • Pharmacy Technicians

  • Physicians

Learning Objectives:

Following completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe essential components of a diversion stewardship program.

  2. Differentiate diversion risk points within the medication lifecycle.

  3. Recognize common challenges seen by diversion programs and the opportunities available to mitigate diversion risks.  


Adam Beeler, PharmD, MS, former System Manager- Controlled Substance Compliance, University of Kansas Health System



This activity is supported by Fresenius Kabi.

CE Accreditation

No continuing education credits are available for this activity.