The theft of drugs and controlled substances by health care professionals is a serious problem that can lead to patient harm and jeopardize patient safety.
In May 2011, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) invited a coalition of hospital, provider, law enforcement, licensing and other health care stakeholders to collaboratively address this important issue.
The coalition completed its work in April 2012, issued a final report, and launched a campaign to more effectively prevent and respond to drug diversions. The campaign includes a road map and tool kit for hospitals and other providers with resources, such as training materials, sample policies and procedures, and a flow chart of reporting guidelines and requirements that providers can use when they suspect a drug diversion has occurred.
In Minnesota from 2005 to 2011, there were 250 reports of theft or loss of controlled substances in hospitals and nursing homes, according to data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Reports increased from 16 in 2006 to 52 in 2010, a 325 percent increase. (Retail pharmacy thefts are not included in these numbers.)
Controlled substances most associated with a theft or loss event were hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, morphine sulfate, and fentanyl. Theft of these controlled substances is a felony offense.
- Outbreak of Gram-Negative Bacteremia at a St. Cloud Hospital. (PDF: 862KB/27 pages). This is an analysis of 2011 St. Cloud Hospital blood infection outbreak.
- Minnesota Controlled Substance Diversion Prevention Coalition Final Report (PDF: 391KB/13 pages)
- Road Map to Controlled Substance Diversion Prevention (PDF: 200KB/8 pages)
- Controlled Substance Diversion Prevention Toolkit
Participants included Aging Services of Minnesota; Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology-Minnesota; Health Professionals Services Program; Hennepin County Attorney’s Office; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Food and Drug Administration/Office of Criminal Investigations Minneapolis Domicile; Hennepin County Medical Center; Mayo Clinic Rochester; Metropolitan Health Plan; Minneapolis Police Department; Minnesota Board of Medical Practice; Minnesota Board of Nursing; Minnesota Board of Pharmacy; Minnesota Department of Health; Minnesota Department of Public Safety; Minnesota Directors of Nursing Administration; Minnesota Pharmacist Association; Minnesota Society of Health-System Pharmacists; Minnesota Hospital Association; and retail pharmacy.