Edison, NJ (PRWEB) December 18, 2013
As illicit use of opioids for pain management continues to be an issue in healthcare, leading long-term care pharmacy PharmScript offers tips on how nurses can to detect and report the misuse of pain medications for non-therapeutic purposes.
Drug diversion occurs when the legal supply chain for prescription analgesic drugs is broken, and rather than being used for their intended purposes, drugs are used illicitly. In recent years pain management has seen a rise in the use of opioid analgesics.
Unfortunately, this has been accompanied by a parallel rise in their use for non-therapeutic purposes.
“Professionals licensed to manage medications have the responsibility to maintain the integrity of prescription drugs and ensure residents with pain receive medications as ordered. Nurses are the largest group of healthcare professionals diverting opioid analgesics. Although some may do this for monetary gain, impaired healthcare professionals are often using the acquired drugs themselves,” said Saul Greenberger, founder of PharmScript, a long term care pharmacy that develops systems to improve accountability for proper use of controlled substances. “Common tactics used to divert controlled substances include charting the drug but not giving it, partially giving it or substituting a look-alike, resulting in the patient being deprived of their medication. This is a serious criminal act.”
As nurses play a significant role in identifying others who are impaired, they should receive training in detecting and reporting drug misuse.
To help healthcare professional better detect drug diversion, PharmScript offers the following tips on things to look out for, from The National Council of State Boards of Nursing:
- Excessive administration of PRN pain medications by a nurse
- Signing out more controlled drugs than other nurses
- Discrepancies in end-of-shift controlled medication counts
- Evidence of tampering of vials or other drug containers
- Repeated reports of spilled doses or other non-administered partial-dose medications
- Failing to obtain co-signatures
- Reports of a nurse waiting until no one is around to open the narcotics box
- Disappearing into the bathroom after opening the narcotics box or cabinet
- Long breaks or lunch hours that isolate the nurse from co-workers
- Frequent or unexplained disappearances from the unit (at work but not on the job)
- Sloppy or illogical handwriting and charting
- Excessive number of mistakes, with defensiveness when questioned about medication errors
- Inappropriate verbal or emotional responses and elaborate excuses for behavior
- Appearing dazed or preoccupied
- Consistently volunteering to be the medication nurse and to work on days off
- Offering to administer pain medications to another nurse’s patients
- Volunteering to work with patients who receive regular or large amounts of pain medications
- Increase in patient complaints of unrelieved pain
- Occurrence of a critical incident
- Combination of these behaviors with increasing regularity over weeks or months
To read more helpful tips on how to maximize the pharmacy experience, visit PharmScript’s learning center at http://www.pharmscript.com/learning.html.
The unique principles upon which PharmScript was founded were based on years of invaluable experience in the long-term care industry. Comprised of a reputable and experienced management team, PharmScript is geared toward providing the ultimate pharmacy experience utilizing cutting-edge technology, impeccable customer service, and assisting facilities in saving on pharmacy costs. Pharmscript currently services New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington DC, Maryland, Florida and Texas.