Yani Estevez Lima Communication in PatientCare January 11, 2018Drug Diverters’ “Red Flag Behaviors” The video on “Red FlagsBehaviors” for pharmacists to watchprovides several indicators that a patient might be abusing prescription drugs.
If I were to leave a comment, I would recommend this video not only topharmacists but to the entire medical community. The growing opioid problem inthe United States has become an epidemic in the last few years. In order tolearn from our mistakes, we have to ask ourselves how this problem became anepidemic. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, pharmaceuticalscompanies reassured healthcare providers that patients would not becomeaddicted to opioids. As a result, the medical community prescribed them indiscriminately and the misuse of theseprescriptions grew exponentially. (National Institute on Drug Abuse, n.
d.) The war against opioidshas become a health crisis that it is fought every day in the medicalcommunity. Informational media such as “Red Flag Behaviors” helps pharmacists which are the last defense toidentify red flags before the dispensation of these opioids. The video shows adiverse demographics teaching us that we should abstain from our biases andcheck every prescription for any potential red flags. As a pharmacy intern, Ihave observed several “critical moments” when the pharmacy staff grewsuspicious due to the behavior of a customer.
I was amazed by how well thevideo captures the behaviors of drug diverters’. For example, a group of fourdifferent patients has presented an identical prescription from the same doctorwith same medication, same quantity, and same doctor but without a validmedical reason. Then, the pharmacist in charge has taken all the measures toverify the prescription with the prescriber, the patient, and the FloridaPrescription Drug Monitor Program. If there are any red flags during thisprocess, the pharmacist is within its rights to refuse a prescription.
Unfortunately, during this process, the patientcan get irritated and confrontational. For that reason, it is paramount for thepharmacist and the pharmacy staff to remain calm, thus the situation does notunnecessarily escalate. If at any moment, the pharmacist feels threatened, theycan always call security or the police. If a prescription is refused by thepharmacist, they should always document the refusal. I am sure I have missedcritical moments because it is a learning process but videos such a Red flagshelps us recognized strategies diverters use and improve in the future.
Theremay be new “red flags” that have not even been identified yet because it is anew strategy people are using to get the prescriptions. As avenues of accessare closed off, those interested in getting the medications will find newstrategies to pursue. This means that although the red flags are important toknow and recognize, being generally aware of people and how they are acting isjust as important. As is knowing your regulars and recognizing when you areseeing someone for the first time. I agree with the doctrinein the video that pharmacists have a corresponding responsibility to stopprescription drug abuse. However, this responsibility should not lie solely inthe pharmacists but in the healthcareproviders prescribing these medications and in the patients. Accordingly, weneed legislation that prosecutes to the full extent of the law, doctorsprescribing indiscriminately in pain clinics trying to profit from theseprescriptions but without any regard to where that medication might end up. This video is an amazingpiece of information media which train the viewers to identify red flags inthis important issue.
However, I believe this video is missing importantinformation as what steps the pharmacist can take once they identify adiverter. Not only it is important to identify the common behaviors ofdiverters but also to know what steps to take to prevent their actions in thefuture. Bibliography National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.
d.). Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis#three