Nonprofit Launches National Network to Track All Drug Diversion Within Hospitals and Health Systems to Combat Opioid Crisis

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HealthCareDiversion.org allows healthcare providers, law enforcement and government agencies to report incidents anonymously, aims to drive awareness and help stop drug diversion

“Drug diversion occurs in virtually every hospital and health system in America. HealthCareDiversion.org is the largest step toward preventing future diversion that I’ve ever seen in all my years in law enforcement and drug diversion.” Russ Nix, Director of Drug Diversion Prevention at MedStar

The Healthcare Diversion Network, a nonprofit association dedicated to preventing drug diversion, today announced the launch of HealthCareDiversion.org, a first-of-its-kind forum that aims to compile all known healthcare diversion incidents into a single national database. The new online forum is the first step in building national dialogue and transparency around one of the most critical, yet often unspoken, risks associated with the opioid crisis.

Nationally, it is estimated that more than 10 percent of hospital staff are stealing opioids and other substances from hospitals—putting patients, other staff and themselves at extreme risk. Drug diversion has led to outbreaks of infections caused by healthcare providers stealing or tampering with their patients' medications, and the liability comes at a great cost to health systems who are already dealing with declining reimbursements.

“Drug diversion occurs in virtually every hospital and health system in America, but many are in denial that it is happening in their own organization,” said Russ Nix, Director of Drug Diversion Prevention at MedStar Health and member of the Healthcare Diversion Network’s advisory board. “Very few resources exist today on how to identify and combat drug diversion, and what’s out there is siloed. HealthCareDiversion.org aims to bring all of those resources into one place so we can collaborate – it’s the largest step toward preventing future diversion that I’ve ever seen in all my years in law enforcement and drug diversion.”

HealthCareDiversion.org provides an online network where anyone, including healthcare providers, law enforcement and government agencies can report an instance of drug theft, known officially as drug diversion. The reports are verified and input into a database and map to help providers hire more effectively and provide patients with more ownership over their care. As a next step, Healthcare Diversion Network plans to open it up to patients and the general public, as well, to ensure the most comprehensive network possible.

“I contracted hepatitis C along with at least 18 others as a result of drug diversion within a hospital, and I was sick for months not knowing what caused it,” said Lauren Lollini, patient safety advocate and member of the Healthcare Diversion Network’s advisory board. “My diversion was a direct result of another hospital not reporting to law enforcement. If there wasn’t so much stigma around reporting drug diversion and the process wasn't so difficult, I wouldn’t have been infected. By fixing the system and making it easier to report and speak openly, we hope to prevent others from being infected by drug diversion in the future.”

The site also aims to raise awareness about past diversion and best practices for preventing future drug diversion, including the development of provider task forces and more. Lastly, it promises to bring educational value by using any data submitted with the reports to identify patterns in diversion, with the ultimate goal of going beyond stopping drug diversion to preventing future diversion.

HealthCareDiversion.org’s mission is to:

  • Prevent diversion from harming patients and their families
  • Deter diversion while giving addicted coworkers the help they need
  • Strengthen communities by preventing overdoses and the resale of stolen drugs
  • Safeguard reputations by helping healthcare facilities lead the charge against the national opioid epidemic

While HealthCareDiversion.org is not expected to catalog all instances of drug diversion, the reports will help hospitals and health systems determine if an individual is a known drug diverter before they are hired, reducing the risk of patient harm.

“I’ve worked with several hospitals to detect and prevent drug diversion, and what it really comes down to is transparency and education,” said Tom Knight, Chairman of the Healthcare Diversion Network. “If the healthcare community can come together to reduce stigma and shine a light on drug diversion, we’ll be able to make considerable progress in reducing drug diversion in our country.”

To learn more about HealthCareDiversion.org, please visit http://www.healthcarediversion.org.

About Healthcare Diversion Network
HealthCareDiversion.org is a national network to reduce drug diversion. The network provides a platform for individuals to report instances of drug diversion, offering information to raise awareness of past drug diversion, and educate healthcare organizations and other stakeholders on best practices to prevent future diversion. HealthCareDiversion.org is operated by the Healthcare Diversion Network, a nonprofit association created in 2019. For more information, visit http://www.healthcarediversion.org.

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Mackenzie Kreitler
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