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Diversion: Enlisting DEA’s registrant population in the fight against opioid abuse.

  • The connection between prescription opioid abuse and heroin use is clear, with 80% of new heroin abusers starting their opioid addiction by misusing prescription medications.
  • DEA is both a law enforcement and a regulatory agency, with 1.6 million registrants involved in the manufacture, wholesale, prescribing, and dispensing of Controlled Prescription Drugs (CPDs). DEA is actively working to engage the registrant community and ask them to help in the fight against opioid abuse and addiction.
  • DEA’s Diversion Control efforts are geared towards preventing the non-medical abuse of CPDs by providing education and training within the pharmaceutical and medical community and to pursue those practitioners who are operating outside of reasonable medical standards. DEA is actively engaging with industry, practitioners, and government health organizations to facilitate an honest and frank discussion about the prescription drug abuse fueling the current heroin crisis.
  • Further, the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. To address this problem, DEA conducted nationwide prescription drug take-backs to collect pharmaceuticals and promulgated comprehensive, expansive disposal regulations to allow the public more options to dispose of their pharmaceuticals. DEA’s 10th National Take Back event was held on September 26, 2015. Through state and local partnerships across the country, the initiative resulted in the collection of more than 370 tons of unwanted or unused prescription drugs from more than 5200 locations.
  • DEA will remain vigilant in identifying and pursuing doctors and other registrants operating outside of the law. This process will be enhanced locally through the use of tactical diversion squads, which can mobilize to address regional or local issues, and additional diversion investigators.
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