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Examples of diversion include

Examples of diversion include:2

Receiving or stealing from friends or family

Theft from a pharmacy, hospital setting or an individual

Buying illegally from online sources

Prescription forgery

"Doctor shopping" and "pharmacy shopping" to obtain multiple prescriptions

In review of six studies

In a review of six studies involving 810 unique patients who underwent orthopedic, thoracic, obstetric and general surgical procedures, 67% to 92% of patients reported unused opioids.3*

*Unused opioids was defined as unfilled prescriptions or unused tablets

To help prevent prescription

To help prevent prescription opioid diversion, the CDC recommends you discuss with your patients the importance of safe storage and disposal to prevent these medications from falling into the wrong hands.4

Medications can be disposed of in local "take back" or "mail back" programs or medication drop boxes at police stations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-authorized collection sites or participating pharmacies.5 The American Medical Association has additional safe disposal resources you can share with patients.

Safeguarding Reference


1 National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Uniform Controlled Substances Act (1994), Section 309, Diversion Prevention and Control. Accessed 10.09.17.
3 Bicket, Mark et al. "Prescription Opioid Analgesics Commonly Unused After Surgery." JAMA Surg. Published online August 2, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0831. Accessed 08.31.17.

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