American Society of Health-System Pharmacists updates drug diversion guidelines

In response to the opioid epidemic spanning the U.S., the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists revised its guidelines on preventing the diversion of controlled substances Aug. 2. 

The guidelines were last updated in 2016 — the same year that had the highest record of deaths from opioid overdoses compared to previous years, accounting for more than 42,000 deaths, according to HHS. A year later, the department declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. 

Representatives from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the Society of Hospital Medicine and the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists participated in renewing the guidelines, according to an ASPH press release

Updates in the revised version include:

  • A community and mail-order pharmacies section with recommendations for ambulatory services
  • Highlighting surveillance technology and boosting analytics 
  • More automation requirements, including automated dispensing cabinets
  • Helping healthcare workers who have a substance use disorder

ASHP reviewed recommendations for more than a year before releasing the 73-page document, which can be found here.

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