Invistics Joins the Fight Against Controlled Substance Diversion

February 11, 2016

Invistics Joins the Fight Against Controlled Substance Diversion

First in a blog series on what we’ve learned preventing controlled substance diversion, and why Invistics is joining the fight against the opioid epidemic.

Prescription painkillers are abused by more than two million Americans every year. Each day, 7000 people are treated in emergency rooms across the country for abusing opioids such as Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and Methadone, and the number of fatalities in the US alone has reached 44 people a day, higher than the number of car collision fatalities. Most of these are people are unaware of the addictive nature of these drugs, and have too-easy access to them via a prescription or from illegal sources. Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine has established a direct link between nonmedical prescription-opioid use and their more potent street counterpart, heroine. The statistics have looked bad for years, and recent overdoses continue to grow.

The rates of overdose deaths are rising particularly for women (up 400% from 1999 to 2010) and middle-aged Caucasian Americans.

The drug overdose numbers were stark. In 2014, the overdose death rate for whites ages 25 to 34 was five times its level in 1999, and the rate for 35- to 44-year-old whites tripled during that period. The numbers cover both illegal and prescription drugs.

“That is startling,” said Dr. Wilson Compton, the deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Those are tremendous increases.” Rising rates of overdose deaths and suicide appear to have erased the benefits from advances in medical treatment for most age groups of whites. Death rates for drug overdoses and suicides “are running counter to those of chronic diseases,” like heart disease, said Ian Rockett, an epidemiologist at West Virginia University.

Just last week, President Obama has proposed $1.1 billion in new funding to address the prescription opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic. So we at Invistics have decided to join our nation’s fight against the diversion of Controlled Substances. What is diversion? Any criminal act involving a prescription drug.

Our initial exposure to Controlled Substance compliance came in 2012, when one of our pharmaceutical customers approached us to modify our supply chain software to have specific capabilities to manage Controlled Substance inventory across their supply chain. Specifically, we built software for them with the following capabilities:


Real-time visibility showing the location of all their controlled substance inventories, with alerts to flag if any material is not properly secured in the appropriate vault, cage, or restricted access location


Electronic data entry screens that allow their employees in their analytical laboratories, product development, and research departments to convert paper-based log books into electronic, real-time tracking information


Electronic reports that provide cradle-to-grave lot lineage, with audit trails for every movement of every gram or tablet or sample of controlled substances, and accurately compile the reports required by the DEA to prevent diversion or theft of controlled substances


And assistance with requesting annual quota from the DEA for Schedule II controlled substances, the most additive and most dangerous controlled substances.

Since then, Invistics has spoken with hundreds of individuals who manufacture, distribute, prescribe, or administer Controlled Substances. We have talked with, and learned from, people working in every link of our nation’s Controlled Substance supply chain: drug manufacturing companies, wholesalers and distributors, hospitals and their doctors & nurses, retail pharmacists, and law enforcement agencies to learn the role we can play in helping prevent Controlled Substance diversion and accidental overdoses.

This blog entry is the first in a series of five, detailing what we have learned, and why we are joining the fight to prevent Controlled Substance diversion. We will be posting four more articles on this topic over the coming weeks, with additional details about the problem, and the new approach we are taking to join our nation’s fight against this epidemic.

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