February 5, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 36

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February 03, 2023

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February 02, 2023

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Don’t Let Drugs Bring You Down: The Importance of an Effective Drug Diversion Program

Overall, healthcare professionals are 10-15% more likely to develop substance abuse issues than the general population.[1] As addiction to prescription medication has reached nation-wide epidemic proportions, it has become a major driver of drug diversion. Drug diversion occurs when prescription medicines are obtained or used illegally. Healthcare practitioners and facilities are the gatekeepers tasked with safeguarding prescription controlled substances. The failure of a facility to effectively prevent drug diversion leads to substandard care, the denial of essential pain medication or therapy, risk of infection, and even death. 

At minimum, an effective drug diversion program should be comprised of:

  • Policies and procedures (e.g., safe handling of medication, documentation practices);

  • Training annually and as needed;

  • Publicize – let staff know you are monitoring; and

  • Audits (e.g., verify orders against withdrawals).

For more practical advice on preventing, investigation, managing and reporting diversion incidents, join our webinar December 8, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. ET. Click here to register.


[1] Peter Grinspoon, M.D., Free Refills (2016).

Copyright © 2023, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 340

About this Author

Lourdes Martinez New York Corporate Attorney Sheppard Mullin

Lourdes M. Martinez is a Partner in the Corporate Practice Group in Sheppard Mullin's New York office.

Lourdes' practice includes defending clients in criminal, civil and regulatory government actions; assisting clients in implementing both fraud and abuse and HIPAA compliance programs; and advising clients on a wide array of compliance, regulatory and business matters.

She has defended clients in federal False Claims Act cases, quality of care cases, physician licensing matters and federal, state and other third-party...

Jarrod Brodsky Corporate Lawyer Sheppard Mullin Law Firm

Jarrod Brodsky is an associate in the Corporate Practice Group in Sheppard Mullin's Washington, D.C. office.


J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 2020

B.A., New York University, 2014, magna cum laude


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