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What Is Drug Diversion?

The Devastating Impact of Drug Diversion in the United States

Deaths of despair are on the rise in the United States, and drug overdoses account for a significant portion of the devastation. While illegal substances like heroin receive most of the media attention, many overdoses are caused by prescription drugs that were legally produced but illegally consumed. These prescription drugs are also common drivers of addiction, and many people turn to cheaper, more dangerous alternatives once they lose access to their initial drug of choice.

A major problem fueling this crisis is the flow of legally produced drugs into the wrong hands. Prescribed medications are only meant to be consumed by the individual whose name is on the prescription. Unfortunately, far too many addicts are able to obtain the drugs that maintain their addiction. When prescription drugs don’t reach their intended targets but instead end up with abusers, they increase pain, on a societal and individual level, rather than improving well-being.

This unfortunate flow of substances into the wrong hands is called drug diversion, and the government is desperately seeking to stop it. A slew of strategies, from raising awareness among pharmacists to changing the formulas of the drugs themselves, is meant to keep medications where they belong. If these efforts ultimately prove successful, society will have won a major battle in the fight against addiction.

Drug Diversion Defined

The term “drug diversion” refers to the illegal movement of medications from legal sources to illicit, unregulated endpoints. If, for example, a legally produced jar of prescription painkillers is given or sold to a person without a prescription, the case would constitute drug diversion. While this example represents the most common type of diversion, the practice can occur at any step of a medication’s journey.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
Nun yaNun ya
17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

How Drug Diversion Occurs

There are many illegal activities that fall under the category of drug diversion. What they all share is the end result: regulated substances reaching an illegal destination. Some drug diversion takes place between friends or relatives with an individual who has received a prescription medication simply giving it to someone else. Someone who has legally received prescribed medications can also sell the drugs on the illicit market.

Other instances of drug diversion take place at the pharmacy level. People sometimes forge prescriptions to get the drugs they crave, and a small minority will even rob pharmacies by force. Illegal pharmacies operating online will also provide drugs for people with fraudulent or illegitimate prescriptions.

Doctors can also be the source of drug diversion, especially when they prescribe medications to people who plan to abuse them. Some abusers engage in a practice called “doctor shopping,” visiting one physician after another until they find one who will prescribe them the drugs they’re after. While most doctors make a serious effort to keep drugs away from potential abusers, some bad actors write needless prescriptions for financial gain.

Preventing Drug Diversion

Preventing drug diversion requires continued effort at multiple levels, from the physicians who prescribe medications to the consumers who receive them. Doctors should adhere to strict guidelines when prescribing drugs, always looking for signs of addiction in the patient. Such signs include a desire to obtain drugs that abusers frequently combine to produce heightened effects.

Pharmacists should be on the constant lookout for red flags signaling potential abuse. Patients who hold suspicious prescriptions, return too quickly for refills, or show visible signs of addiction should all be scrutinized before they receive medications. Pharmacists are also required to adhere strictly to all refill-related policies.

On an individual level, people should never give prescription drugs to a friend, relative, or acquaintance. Only the person whose name appears on the prescription is allowed to possess or consume the medication.

Across the spectrum, from doctors to individual consumers, people should report suspected instances of drug diversion. Putting a stop to the practice will help slow addiction on the individual and societal levels. Doctors, pharmacists, and individuals should also recognize that drug diversion is often punishable by law. Irresponsible behavior that allows drugs to flow toward illegal channels can bring considerable consequences. To avoid legal issues while helping society overcome a devastating cycle of addiction, everyone involved should do their part to combat drug diversion.

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