Given the nature of hospitals and the amount of pain surrounding accidents, injuries, illnesses and surgeries, there is often an abundance of prescription drugs floating around. However, with the spotlight on reducing the impact of painkiller abuse on society, more hospitals are facing increased scrutiny about the way they handle and distribute opioids.
Two executives from Comprehensive Pharmacy Services recently issued an article outlining several steps that hospitals can take to help protect themselves and their patients from prescription drug misuse and abuse. They targeted six areas to address regarding this problem.
1. Review policies and procedures that are in place to minimize diversion.
2. Create standards for ordering and prescribing controlled substances.
3. Establish education and training across multiple disciplines to educate staff on controlled substance diversion.
4. Place camera surveillance in high-risk areas.
5. When something does go wrong, have procedures ready to launch to investigate potential cases of diversion and discrepancies in controlled substance inventory.
6. Review staff practices that can help avoid the problem on the front end by reducing the vast number of opioid prescriptions that are being written.
In recent years, many hospitals have taken measures to limit the number of pain pills being handed out through the ER. Emergency rooms have long been a source for drug seekers to get narcotics from through minor injuries or faking pain symptoms. Now they have cut back both in the number of overall prescriptions in most cases, but also have limited the number of pills being given per script.
If more physicians and hospitals continue to be aware of the trouble spots surrounding the prescribing of opioids and implement policies to correct them, they should be able to keep more of these drugs out of the wrong hands.