If you have ever taken someone else’s prescription medication or given your drugs to them, you have participated in an illegal activity called drug diversion. Drug diversion happens when people distribute or sell prescriptions in a way the prescriber did not intend. Minor instances can occur with individual users, but people with easy access to medications – like doctors, pharmacists and manufacturers – can also commit this crime on a large scale.
Types of Drug Diversion
Typical examples of drug diversion include:
- Selling or dispensing prescription drugs without legal permission to do so
- Doctor shopping, or visiting multiple prescribers in hopes of obtaining several prescriptions
- Black-market internet pharmacies
- Prescription pad theft and forgery
The Connection Between Drug Diversion and Addiction
The National Institute on Drug Abuse and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration warn that prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Valium, Adderall, Xanax and Ativan have a high potential for drug diversion. Not surprisingly, these medications are also highly addictive. People who are physically and psychologically dependent on opioids, benzodiazepines and stimulants might be willing to turn to illicit paths to get more drugs when they can no longer obtain them legally.
Many people mistakenly believe prescription medications are safer than illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine, but the reality is that they can be just as addictive, even when used according to a doctor’s orders. These drugs can lead to a chemical dependency because of the sensations they create in the brain. For example, prescription stimulants give people energy and focus, while opioids cause euphoria and benzodiazepines have a calming, relaxing effect.
According to statistics from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, over 1 million people end up in the emergency room every year after taking prescription drugs incorrectly. Prescription painkiller abuse is responsible for the deaths of more than 40 people daily, which is more than the combined number of people dying from heroin and cocaine misuse.
How Can You Prevent Drug Diversion?
If you or anyone in your household routinely takes potentially addictive prescription drugs, you have a vital role in preventing them from falling into the wrong hands and avoiding medical emergencies such as an accidental overdose.
- Keep your medicine cabinet locked to ensure only the person who needs the medication has access to it.
- Safely dispose of any unused prescription drugs by flushing them down the toilet or finding a drug take-back program near you where someone will responsibly destroy the remaining supply.
- Know the warning signs of an accidental overdose and be ready to call 911 for emergency help if a loved one falls unconscious and is unresponsive after using prescription medications incorrectly.
A Supportive Christian Rehab
No matter where you are in life, God is always willing to forgive you. At Celebrate Hope, we provide compassionate, faith-based addiction treatment. Throughout the years, our team of addiction clinicians and Christian counselors has provided comprehensive care that has helped many clients begin working on their long-term sobriety while strengthening their relationship with God.
We have built a safe, supportive space where you can get the care you need to recover using Biblical principles to find your way out of addiction and toward a bright, fulfilling future. Take the first step and contact us today to learn more.