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Research Letter
February 11, 2020

Estimates of Medication Diversion in Hospice

Author Affiliations
  • 1School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • 2School of Pharmacy, University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • 3School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • 4School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore
JAMA. 2020;323(6):566-568. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.20388

Given the challenges of symptom management during hospice care, patients require responsive opioid prescribing. Within the context of the national opioid crisis, medication diversion in hospice is an increasing concern.1

We conducted a national survey of hospices (June-September 2018). Using 2015 data on US hospices,2 we randomly selected 600 agencies, proportionately stratified by state and profit status. We surveyed agency representatives by phone or online about practices, policies, and experiences regarding medication diversion. Procedures were deemed exempt by the University of Maryland, Baltimore, institutional review board. Survey participation implied informed consent.

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