The growing problem of ‘opioid diversion’ among doctors

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2019 | Drug Possession

Nobody doubts that there’s a crisis in the American health care system — and doctors often bear the brunt of the problems on a day-to-day basis. For some, the pressure simply gets to be too much, and they resort to drugs to manage the strain.

Opioid diversion,” which is the clinical term for what happens when a doctor or other health care professional steals the drugs that are intended for their patients. A 2019 report from Protenus, a data firm, indicates that opioid diversion is an American problem that just keeps getting worse.

According to the data reviewed, there was a 126% increase in the number of opioids stolen from patients between 2017 and 2018. Altogether, around 47 million doses of painkillers a year aren’t making it to the patients that are waiting on them. Research indicates that doctors and nurses are behind 67% of the diversions. The drugs they take can include just about any form of painkiller, but Oxycodone is the most popular choice — likely because the pills are powerful, small and easy to quickly conceal. Hydrocodone and fentanyl are the other most commonly targeted drugs.

Here’s the thing: Many of these medical professionals are suffering from addictions that can be treated — if they’re allowed to get the help that they need rather than being tossed directly into jail. In many cases, underlying mental health issues — like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — may also be influencing a medical professional’s behavior.

If you’re a nurse or doctor who has been accused of a drug crime, including the theft of painkillers or illegal possession of prescription drugs, you need to act quickly to protect your rights and your career.

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