Healthcare providers have access to a wide range of medications for the purpose of treating patients. However, this access comes with the added responsibility of ensuring that drugs are not misused or abused. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals play a vital role in ensuring that controlled substances are prescribed and dispensed correctly. However, there are some situations where providers may be accused of allowing prescription drugs to be used for non-medical purposes. By understanding the situations where a person could potentially be accused of drug diversion, a provider can take steps to defend themselves and avoid the loss of a DEA registration or discipline to their medical license.
Common Types of Drug Diversion
Drug diversion generally involves the illegal distribution of controlled substances, allowing prescription medications to be used improperly or sold to others. Accusations of drug diversion may involve issues such as:
Theft of drugs or prescription pads – Some of the most obvious forms of drug diversion involve the theft of prescription medications. Drugs that are not secured or monitored properly in a medical office or pharmacy may be stolen. In some cases, medical professionals who struggle with drug abuse may take drugs to use themselves. In others, poor security practices may allow staff members or others to steal medications. Patients, staff members, or other parties who steal prescription pads may use them to write false prescriptions and obtain controlled substances.
Improper administration of drugs – Providers may administer drugs to patients at doses that are too high, and this may be done as part of a money-making scheme in which a person accepts cash or other forms of compensation in return for providing medications to patients. In some cases, doctors or nurses may keep excess portions of a drug for their own personal use.
Unnecessary prescriptions – Doctors may issue prescriptions for controlled substances without properly examining patients. In some cases, doctors may see large numbers of patients and write prescriptions without taking the time to fully consider patients’ medical histories or evaluate their health issues. They may write prescriptions for controlled substances in high doses or large quantities. This may be done to enable patients’ drug addictions or to allow drugs to be sold or distributed to others.
A provider who is accused of drug diversion may face a variety of different penalties. If the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) performs an investigation and determines that drug diversion has occurred, it may take action to suspend or revoke a provider’s DEA registration, taking away their ability to prescribe or dispense controlled substances. The loss of a DEA registration is also likely to lead to discipline to a person’s medical license, and the Illinois Medical Board or another licensing authority may determine that a suspension or revocation will be appropriate. A provider may also face a loss of hospital privileges, a loss of provider status with Medicare/Medicaid, a loss of board certification, and other consequences, including potential criminal prosecution.
Contact Our Illinois Drug Diversion Defense Attorney
Working in healthcare comes with a lot of responsibility, and it is essential for medical professionals to be vigilant and take all appropriate measures to ensure that controlled substances are handled properly. Whether intentional or not, drug diversion can have a serious impact on the lives and health of patients. Doctors, nurses, or other providers who are accused of drug diversion will need to determine how to respond, including what steps they can take to avoid the loss of their DEA registration, the suspension of their medical license, and other penalties. At The Law Offices of Joseph J. Bogdan, LLC, our Illinois drug diversion lawyer can provide invaluable help in these situations, ensuring that providers understand their options for protecting themselves against discipline or criminal prosecution. Contact our office at 630-310-1267 to arrange a free consultation.