Theft of Pharmaceuticals
The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management published a research letter by scientists from the Pain & Policy Studies Group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on drug crime as a source of diverted pharmaceuticals. The researchers examined data maintained by the US Drug Enforcement Administration on thefts and other incidents of loss of controlled substances by DEA registrants including pharmacists, manufacturers, and distributors. The data was complete for the years 2000-2003 for 22 Eastern states representing 53% of the US population. According to the researchers:
"A total of 12,894 theft/loss incidents were reported in these states between 2000 and 2003. Theft/losses were primarily from pharmacies (89.3%), with smaller portions from medical practitioners, manufacturers, distributors, and some addiction treatment programs that reported theft/losses of methadone.
"Over the 4-year period, almost 28 million dosage units of all controlled substances were diverted. The total number of dosage units for the six opioids is as follows: 4,434,731 for oxycodone; 1,026,184 for morphine; 454,503 for methadone; 325,921 for hydromorphone; 132,950 for meperidine; 81,371 for fentanyl."
Joranson, David E. MSSW & Aaron M. Gilson, PhD, Pain & Policy Studies Group, University of Wisconsin-Madison, "Drug Crime is a Source of Abuse Pain Medication in the United States," Letters, Journal of Pain & Symptom Management, Vol. 30, No. 4, Oct. 2005, p. 299.