Substance use disorder: Is your teammate walking a tight rope?

Tips to identify and report potential drug diversion

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The opioid crisis continues to sweep through the U.S. and health care workers are not immune from its effects. In fact, an estimated 15% of pharmacists, 10% of nurses, and 8% of physicians are challenged with alcohol or drug dependency. As a result, some turn to drug diversion, placing the health system, its employees, and patients at risk of serious harm.

Signs like slurred speech, drowsiness, dramatic mood swings, increased absenteeism, and frequent drug-related discrepancies may indicate that a teammate has a substance use disorder (SUD) or is diverting medication. Health care workers should be prepared to identify and report potential diversion to minimize patient risk and ensure colleagues can be connected to SUD treatment as early as possible.

This infographic provides an overview of behavioral warning signs of drug diversion and the recommended reporting channels to keep patients and colleagues safe.

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