Minnesota Hospital Association

Quality & Patient Safety

Drug Diversion Prevention

Hospitals, health care providers, state government and law enforcement have joined together to create a set of best practices that hospitals and health care facilities can use to enhance security for controlled substances, including narcotics and other powerful prescription medications.  

The Controlled Substance Diversion Coalition, convened by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Hospital Association, came together in May 2011 to prevent theft of prescription drugs by health care workers, patients, families, and visitors, and to raise awareness about the issue within health care settings. The coalition is an effort of a broad-based stakeholder group, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, home care and hospice.  

The Drug Enforcement Agency requires hospitals and other health care facilities to report the theft or loss of controlled substances. In Minnesota from 2005 to 2011, there were 250 reports of theft or loss of controlled substances. Reports increased from 16 in 2006 to 52 in 2010, a 325 percent increase. (Retail pharmacy thefts are not included in these numbers.)

Controlled Substance Diversion (CSD) Learning Network

MHA hosts quarterly webinars to share learnings and best practices around controlled substance diversion. To join the CSD learning network, contact Joy Benn, quality and process improvement specialist, MHA. 

Drug Diversion Prevention Resources

The coalition has created a road map and toolkit that will improve health care providers’ controlled substance storage and security, procurement, prescribing, preparation and dispensing. The road map includes training materials, sample policies and procedures, and a flow chart of reporting guidelines and requirements that providers can use when they suspect a drug diversion has occurred. The road map is a collection of best practices for preventing and responding to controlled substance diversions. Some examples include camera surveillance in high-risk areas, keeping prescription notepads in locked locations, implementing a clearly defined process for controlling and accounting for keys, rules against sharing pass codes, utilizing bar codes for tracking, deploying secure and locked delivery carts, and using tamper resistant packaging.  

Download the Controlled Substance Diversion Prevention road map.

Drug Diversion toolkit

Sample policies and procedures

State and federal resources


Other resources