An impaired healthcare worker (HCW) who abuses drugs may use one or more methods to divert medications for personal use. Prevention of drug diversion needs to identify and control these methods.

Methods used to divert drugs:

(1) stealing from drug inventories (office, hospital, other)

(2) keeping unused drugs or asking patients to return unused drugs

(3) stealing from patients

(4) defrauding patients (writing a prescription in the patient's name then picking it up at the pharmacy and charging the patient's insurance)

(5) taking drug samples

(6) misusing a valid prescription

(7) ordering drugs directly from a drug supply company


When stealing a drug from a patient the HCW may:

(1) just not give it to the patient

(2) replace/substitute (dilute, refill, etc)


Risk factors for diversion:

(1) lax controls

(2) worker in a position of authority

(3) an accomplice (including co-dependent family member)

(4) worker going to multiple locations (no clear pattern develops)

(5) overly-trusting patients or co-workers

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