Sigma Theta Tau hosts professional development on drug diversion

Published 04.30.2024

Nursing & Health Sciences Events
Nursing & Health Sciences
Community Connections

The Penn College chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society for nurses, again hosted a professional development session on drug diversion in health care, led by Special Agent Alan McGill, of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, who provided insight on why and how health care workers have diverted drugs.

Drug diversion is the illegal distribution or abuse of prescription drugs, or their use for purposes not intended by the prescriber. McGill explained that diversion occurs in hospitals, long-term care facilities and pharmacies, among other settings.

No one really knows how big the problem is, but according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and American Nurses Association, about 10 percent of health care workers abuse drugs. Addiction among health care workers usually begins with a legal prescription due to an injury, surgery or illness, McGill said.

Participants in the seminar included students, staff and faculty in the School of Nursing & Health Sciences.

An audience of nurses, nursing students and other health care professionals hears a presentation by Special Agent Alan McGill on drug diversion in health care, including reporting procedures and several examples of why and how health care workers have diverted prescription drugs. The event was sponsored by the Penn College chapter of Sigma Theta Tau international honor society for nurses.

McGill is a senior supervisory special agent assigned to the Office of Public Engagement. He has been a professional investigator for over 30 years, with 23 years in law enforcement. He was a narcotics supervisor of both street agents and drug diversion agents. He has extensive experience as an undercover narcotics agent but is best known for his work as a drug diversion agent and supervisor, including being court-qualified as an expert in drug diversion. He provides advanced training to health care facilities and colleges and universities.

He is the author of a prescription drug investigations course for law enforcement that has been certified for continuing education credits and has been a presenter at national conferences. McGill serves on the Executive Board of the National Association of State Controlled Substance Authorities.