ARSH | Center for Applied Research on Substance Use and Health Disparities

Cross-National Survey of Pharmaceutical Diversion U.S.

Steven P. Kurtz, Principal Investigator
Mance Buttram, Co-Investigator
Yamilka Stivers, Project Director

Project Summary

The abuse and diversion of prescription opioid analgesics is a substantial and growing public health problem. This study was designed to collect national surveillance data on the nature and extent of pharmaceutical diversion from a network of law enforcement and regulatory agencies. The study involves approximately 250 diversion investigators in 49 states, including rural, suburban, and urban areas. On a quarterly basis, investigators are sent a questionnaire which elicits information on new diversion cases involving targeted prescription opioids (buprenorphine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, tramadol, tapentadol) as well as prescription stimulants. This study forms part of the Researched Abuse, Diversion and Addiction-Related Surveillance (RADARS®) System, operated by Denver Health and Hospital Authority. RADARS System surveillance programs are designed to target geographically and epidemiologically diverse segments of the US population at risk for abuse, misuse and diversion of prescription medications.

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