Quantifying the Holistic Costs of Controlled Substance Medication Waste


The availability of opioid medication quantities and doses above what is typically prescribed for patients is a known medication safety and diversion risk because it requires practitioner manipulation of each controlled substance prior to use. Dispensing medications in the exact ordered dose, in a ready-to-administer form is a medication safety best practice, but one not always acknowledged. A recent study quantified the increased drug and human resource costs associated with waste of controlled substances, further supporting the recommendation to match product availability with prescribed therapy.

Every organization that prescribes, stores, dispenses, and administers medications is at risk for drug diversion. Learn from faculty the steps that can be taken to minimize controlled substance waste as a significant threat to patient safety.

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. Identify practices that impact the safe use of intravenous (IV) products in the inpatient setting.

  2. Discuss interventions designed to detect and prevent diversion.

  3. Recite quantifiable cost data accounting for workforce, waste, and disposal, associated with the waste process for intravenous push-controlled substance medications.  


John Hertig, PharmD, MS, CPPS, FASHP, Vice Chair, Butler University College of Pharmacy Health Sciences

Susan Paparella, MSN, RN, Vice President, ISMP



This activity is funded by Fresenius Kabi. 

CE Accreditation

No continuing education credits are available for this activity. 


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