Managing Prescription Drug Diversion Risks: Caring for Individuals at Home

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Abstract

As the Society for the Study of Addiction concluded in their 2010 study of prescription drug diversion and sourcing, friends and family members are identified as a significant source for drugs being abused. The 2010 National Conference of State Legislatures reported that a national drug survey found more than half of the nonmedical users of prescription pain relievers acquire them at no cost from a friend or relative (Hanson, 2010). The Harvard Medical Letter (2011) reported that 70% of prescription drug abusers identify their source as a family member or friend.

Specific to this article, the family member or friend may be associated with the individual receiving home care or hospice services in their home. As the life span across the United States increases, the graying of America presents healthcare providers with many societal and managed care challenges. In addition to managing patient symptoms and related treatment, home care and hospice care providers need to expand their plan of care to include the risks of drug diversion.

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