As the opioid crisis becomes more prevalent in American society, healthcare systems are beginning to acknowledge the need for drug diversion prevention programs within their walls. With jaw dropping stories of diversion within the hospitals surfacing and reports of opioid abuse on the rise, drug diversion—once considered a taboo subject—is becoming too big to ignore.
Guidelines for Diversion
To help hospitals navigate how to approach these situations, the Emergency Nurses Association and International Nurses Society on Addictions released a joint position statement in the Journal of Addictions Nursing providing guidelines to treat substance abuse disorders among nurses and nursing students.
The statement suggests that healthcare facilities and nursing schools should begin implementing alternative-to-discipline approaches in order to treat nurses and nursing students who have committed drug diversion. According to the authors of these new guidelines:
“Professional monitoring programs that employ an alternative-to-discipline approach have been shown to be effective in the treatment of health professionals with substance use disorders and are considered a standard for recovery, with high rates of completion and return to practice.”
Along with these new treatment methods, the statement calls for drug diversion to be viewed mainly as a symptom of a serious and treatable disease, and not just as a crime.
Healthcare employees need to be aware of substance abuse associated risks, evidence of impaired practice, and methods of drug diversions—not only for their own well-being but in order to have the means to report suspected or actual concerns. Authors of drug diversions guidelines call for healthcare facilities to provide education relating to alcohol and drug use to nurses and other employees, in order to facilitate a safe and supportive drug-free workplace.
As a result of healthcare facilities’ and their employees’ willingness to speak toward the problem of diversion within their own walls, a collaborative and educational sphere has developed around the issue. Drug diversion experts, such as Kimberly New, regularly offer webinars for hospitals, as well as successful strategies and practices to prevent diversion. Industry conferences also represent opportunities for dialogue, where the goals are to help minimize the effects of diversion on hospitals and keep patients safer.
The ability to learn from one another’s experiences while sharing helpful tips and strategies is a key to fighting drug diversion in healthcare. For practical tips to reduce drug diversion, visit Diversion Central, and register for the next webinar taking place on June 14th at 12:00pm ET. Follow Omnicell on LinkedIn to have the latest industry news brought to you.