Skip to main content


10 Ways to Halt Drug Diversion by Healthcare Workers

   September 02, 2016

9. Make sure hospital leaders understand that as healthcare systems get better at creating barriers to theft of controlled substances where they are stored, the theft that does occur will happen closer and closer to patient care, at the bedside, "at the stopcock of the IV."

Berge says that today, it's harder for an addicted healthcare worker to steal oxycodone from a hospital pharmacy, because of newer policies that secure and account for it. So don't be surprised if they are more successful wherever the drugs are used.

10. Offer treatment once an employee is caught and terminated. Even extend healthcare benefits that provide coverage. "We say, 'You're fired. Now how can we help you.'?"

While the Mayo may have an aggressive prevention program, however it still finds problems because, perhaps, it is just looking harder to find them.

Just last week, Berge says, he got another call from a nurse in tears. It had happened again. That nurse had taken a vial of fentanyl and syringe out of the Pyxis for a patient and handed them to a second nurse who eagerly volunteered to draw it up and administer it.

But the first nurse saw that the syringe inserted wasn't the same one that she had handed the second nurse. D-DIRT was called and the syringe returned to the toxicology lab for its contents to be tested

"It wasn't fentanyl," he sighed.

"These people are very good at covering their tracks. They're hard to catch. And I think that's the message we're trying to get out. It's terrifying, but you have to look for it."

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.