The opiate epidemic in America is taking a toll, and it’s not just patient use that is concerning, but also those in the medical field who are using and/or selling them. Just recently, in Salem, Massachusetts, General Hospital paid over 2 million dollars in a settlement for a theft by staff members of over 16,000 pills, over a several-year period. The University of Michigan also settled a case involving a fatal overdose and tens of thousands of missing opiates, for over 4 million dollars.
In another case, a pharmacy technician in Beverly Hills, stole opiates through altering medical records, marking the pills for disposal and then keeping them. These pills included Percocet, Vicodin, and OxyContin, which she claims were for personal use; however, due to the large volume of pills stolen, it seems more likely that they were sold or otherwise distributed.
Both the Department of Public Health and the DEA have authority over these drug diversions, and the penalties are significant.
What Can Hospitals Do to Manage Drug Theft?
The Drug Enforcement Administration requires that minimum security standards be in place to provide effective control of controlled substances. Medical practitioners who fall under this rule (Title 21 CR 1300), include “physicians, dentists, veterinarians, researchers, hospitals, pharmacies, or other persons registered to do research, to dispense, or to use in teaching or chemical analysis a controlled substance in the course of professional practice.” Source: US Dept of Justice Diversion Control Division
Minimum security standards vary depending on the quantity of controlled substances stored, the physical location of the drugs and whether or not it is a high crime area, and the number of people with access to the controlled substances, just to name a few. Security lockers or safes may be required in some cases, and in others, a locked cabinet is considered to be adequate. Protocols for drug handling is also important, including policies and procedures for disposal and dispensing.
However, to minimize theft or diversion, a pharmaceutical security locker, such as AssetTracer, can create ultimate security, allowing for customization for exact needs. These security features include:
- Modular: Use only as many lockers as needed- or as few, to maximize any space. Expand as you need.
- Secure: Only the people with the appropriate clearance can access specific lockers either by badge, biometrics, or pin code.
- Backup: Battery back-up is in place in case of emergency.
- Tracking: An audit trail generates in real time for monitoring and security.
- Surveillance: Audio/video recording is available for additional protection.
DeBourgh All-American Lockers works with you to store smarter. When you're ready to save time and money on the next generation of storage, start here.