The diversion of prescription drugs by health care workers in Cincinnati, Ohio

Subst Use Misuse. 2006;41(2):255-64. doi: 10.1080/10826080500391829.


Data are reported from drug diversion cases involving health care workers who were investigated by the Cincinnati Police Division Pharmaceutical Diversion Squad over an 11-year period. This type of information is rarely available because few U.S. police jurisdictions dedicate resources to prescription drug diversion surveillance. Data from 1992 through 2002 show that opioids were the drugs most commonly diverted by health care workers, followed by benzodiazepines. Nurses, nursing assistants, and medical assistants were involved in almost three quarters of all cases. Hospitals were the most common sources of complaint to police, followed by pharmacies. Health care professional associations are advised to promote greater awareness of drug misuse and dependence concerns among their memberships, and health care facilities that stock pharmaceuticals liable for misuse and diversion are advised to increase the security of their supplies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ohio
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Theft / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Theft / statistics & numerical data


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations