Prescription Drug Misuse and Drug Diversion

Pharmacist CEU
Contact Hours: 1.0 (0.1 CEUs)

Course Summary

The number of people misusing prescription drugs, or dying from a drug overdose of prescription and illicit drugs in the United States has reached record highs in recent years. Pharmacists and pharmacy staff can help reduce this crisis by being aware of the behavioral and physical signs of drug addiction and drug misuse. Pharmacists and pharmacy staff need to also be aware of drug diversion and the steps they may take to detect drug diversion. While preventing drug diversion or drug misuse is important, it is also important to not underprescribe. Pharmacy staff must also understand how race and ethnicity affect decisions by healthcare providers when they prescribe and dispense opioids and pain medication.

Course Objectives

Review the history of prescription drug misuse and describe the current problem

Identify the signs of drug misuse and dependency by patients

Identify methods to detect drug misuse, with a focus on drug diversion tactics

Learn to control prescription drug misuse while not denying medication to patients for whom it is medically indicated

I. Introduction

II. History of Prescription Drug Misuse

III. The Current Prescription Drug Misuse Problem

IV. Signs of Drug Addiction and Misuse

1. Behavioral Signs
2. Physical Signs
3. Drug Diversion, Doctor Shopping, and Doctor Hopping
4. Drug Theft and Prescription Forgeries

V. Systematic Methods of Detection

1. Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
2. Morphine Milligram Equivalents
3. Early Intervention

VI. Controlling Prescription Drug Misuse without Denying Patients Proper Treatment

1. Underprescribing for Pain
2. Discrimination in Prescribing Controlled Substances
3. Treating Patients Who Have Pain and a Substance Use Disorder

VII. Summary

How to Earn Credit:
To earn credit for this course, participants must:
  1. Read the course objectives and faculty planner disclosure
  2. Read the course material
  3. Complete the post-test with a minimum score of 70% and complete the course evaluation form.
  4. Results are automatically submitted to CPE Monitor

Faculty Planner Disclosure

The following individuals were involved in the development of this activity: Steve Malen, PharmD, MBA, and Susan DePasquale, MSN, PMHNP-BC. There are no financial relationships relevant to this activity to report or disclose by any of the individuals involved in the development of this activity.

Unlabeled Use Disclosures

The information provided in this course is general in nature and it is solely designed to provide participants with continuing education credit(s). This course and materials are not meant to substitute for the independent, professional judgment of any participant regarding that participant’s professional practice, including but not limited to patient assessment, diagnosis, treatment and/or health management. Medical and pharmacy practices, rules, and laws vary from state to state, and this course does not cover the laws of each state; therefore, participants must consult the laws of their state as they relate to their professional practice. Healthcare professionals, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, must consult with their employer, healthcare facility, hospital, or other organization, for guidelines, protocols, and procedures they are to follow. The information provided in this course does not replace those guidelines, protocols, and procedures but is for academic purposes only, and this course’s limited purpose is for the completion of continuing education credits. Participants are advised and acknowledge that information related to medications, their administration, dosing, contraindications, adverse reactions, interactions, warnings, precautions, or accepted uses are constantly changing, and any person taking this course understands that such person must make an independent review of medication information prior to any patient assessment, diagnosis, treatment and/or health management. Any discussion of off-label use of any medication, device, or procedure is informational only and such uses are not endorsed hereby. Nothing contained in this course represents the opinions, views, judgments, or conclusions of LLC. LLC is not liable or responsible to any person for any inaccuracy, error, or omission with respect to this course, or course material.

Computer Hardware/Software Requirements

Please ensure the device you plan to use meets these requirements and specifications:

  • Operating System: Windows 7,8,10, or 11 /Mac OS X 10.9 or later/iOS/Android
  • Supported Browsers: Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera
  • A connection to the internet
  • For Live Webinars or Conferences: GoToWebinar application for iOS, Android, Mac, or PC. You cannot 'call into' a live conference.

  • Target Audience: Pharmacist
  • Contact Hours: 1.0 (0.1 CEUs)
  • Activity Release Date: 12/19/2022
  • Activity Expiration Date: 12/19/2025
  • Activity Type: Knowledge
  • UAN: 0669-0000-22-102-H99-P
  • Topic: Additional Topic Areas
  • CeBroker Number: 20-983022


Steve Malen, PharmD, MBA



The logo for the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)., LLC is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education.

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