The drug trafficking and prescription abuse epidemic creates problems for all segments of society. An effective tool to reduce diversion, such as Divert-X, is needed.
"When 27,000 people are losing their lives annually, we should take seriously every possible solution to end prescription drug abuse that is currently within our reach."
Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) [ref]
One of the fundamental issues fueling the growth of the epidemic of prescription drug abuse is that the medical system cannot differentiate between legitimate patients and those who are gaming the system to support abuse or trafficking.
Amount of prescription painkillers sold by state per 10,000 people in 2010 (DEA)
Divert-X will be effective in reducing abuse because its adoption will:
- Change patient behavior due to monitoring and make patients accountable
- Create a financial incentive to return unused medications
- Provide early indications of misuse and development of addiction
- De-industrialize drug trafficking
The Advantages of Divert-X
We anticipate that the benefits of Divert-X will be wide-spread among the stakeholders.
- Improved ability to determine the patient’s compliance to a prescribed dosing schedule
- Packaging will alert patients to the potency of their medication and the risk of dependence
- Early detection of misuse and dependency resulting in better management and improved outcomes
- Better relationships with federal and state agencies through adoption of best practices
- Reduced administrative burden for doctor’s offices and clinics
- Improvement in relationship with legitimate patients by building trust
"FDA experts say opioids 'are extensively misprescribed, misused, and abused, leading to overdoses, addiction, and even deaths across the United States.'”
U.S. Food and Drug Administration [ref]
- More reliable access to medications (for example, the root cause of the 2012 ADHD medication shortage was drug trafficking outpacing clinical need)
- Lower costs resulting from enhanced doctor-patient trust (such as reduced drug testing)
- Expanded access to clinical services and networks due to reduced physician liability
- Clear warning to new patients and family members regarding the safety issues of Controlled Substances
- New revenue source without increased fixed costs
- Reduction in legal liability through adoption of best available management practices, shielding from DEA and related regulatory actions
- Detailed data allows pharmacists to play a greater role in counseling patients
- Insurers are expected to reimburse pharmacists for therapy management services
- The use of the monitoring system will itself inhibit and reduce trafficking
- Depending on state law, real-time notification of diversion-indicating behavior will allow rapid intervention and decrease the street supply of Controlled Substances
- Promotes and streamlines routine medication take-back efforts, thereby reducing the supply of available drugs for illegal use
“He said it was not uncommon to see pills offered from bulging 50-pound dog food bags filled with the prescriptions.”
Gerald Dixon, ex-boxer and weightlifter during interview for CBS News, Cleveland [ref]
Healthcare funding agencies- Medicare, Medicaid, Health Insurance Providers
- Reduction in medication diversion results in overall reduction in costs of abuse, including expenses for emergency room visits, addiction treatment, diminishing or eliminating patient medication testing, and the more efficient use of legitimate medication
- Real-time notification of diversion-indicating behavior will allow rapid intervention and decrease spending that results from iatrogenic addictions
State and local government
- The system data generated by Divert-X will complement the information generated by state Prescription Monitoring Programs
- Reduced healthcare costs from lowered Medicaid contributions
- Reduced social services spending – prescription drug abuse is a top cause of family disruption
- Improve the availability of workforce for employment – in many regions, employers have difficulty finding workers able to pass drug tests
"In Knott County, adjacent to Rockcastle, Kelly said more than half of the children have lost their parents due to death, abandonment or legal removal. Anecdotally, she says, the numbers in other areas could be even higher. And in nearby Johnson County, so many children have lost parents that school administrators there changed 'Parents' Day' to 'Guardians' Day.'"
Prescription drugs 'orphan' children in eastern Kentucky, CNN [ref]
Federal and military
- Significantly impact the medication abuse epidemic, enhance economic productivity, and reduce the cost of healthcare
The armed forces have Controlled Substance misuse and diversion problems greater than society at large - 18% across all active-duty services but the Army incidence is estimated at an alarming 23%.
Ryan Keneally, MD, 2011 Wounded Warrior Pain Care Symposium [ref]
- Reduction in liability from product abuse
- Improved treatment outcomes based on better patient compliance
- Reduction in regulatory risk for Controlled Substance approvals
- Enables implementation of more credible and lower cost Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies
- Prevention of new addictions and deaths related to prescription drugs (86% of heroin users begin with prescription abuse)
Divert-X will not eliminate prescription drug abuse and trafficking - the problem is too chronic and widespread. However, it is the only broad systems approach under development designed to reduce the magnitude of the problem.