Sigma Theta Tau Hosts Professional Development on Drug Diversion

(Pennsylvania College of Technology) The Penn College chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society for nurses, again hosted a professional development session on drug diversion in health care, led by Special Agent Alan McGill, of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, who provided insight on why and how health care workers have diverted drugs.

Drug diversion is the illegal distribution or abuse of prescription drugs, or their use for purposes not intended by the prescriber. McGill explained that diversion occurs in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and pharmacies, among other settings.

No one really knows how big the problem is, but according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and American Nurses Association, about 10 percent of health care workers abuse drugs. Addiction among health care workers usually begins with a legal prescription due to an injury, surgery, or illness, McGill said.

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