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Hospitals Must Employ Safeguards to Prevent Drug Diversion

“Prevention is better than cure,” the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus once observed. 

Clearly, Erasmus’ maxim – first mentioned in the 1500s – had staying power: the phrase is now ubiquitous in healthcare circles and healthy-lifestyle campaigns. 

Application of the “prevention principle,” however, has been the real challenge. Nowhere is this more evident than in the area of drug diversion. 

Missing Drugs

Recent studies bear this out: the US and Canada – two countries struggling with “unprecedented opioid-related mortality” rates – have “unexplained losses” of controlled substances which are demonstrably high. 

This begs the question: how do you prevent what is unexplained?

An examination of healthcare systems also reveals a concerning disjunction: though one will find protocols for the handling of controlled substances – such as Fentanyl and Oxycodone – in most hospitals, comprehensive prevention safeguards to prevent diversion are frequently absent.


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