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Mar 22, 2016

Addressing Drug Diversion and Appropriate Opioid Use

The Problem:

Drug diversion and prescription drug abuse have created a crisis across the United States. Pennsylvania has the 14th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the country. This corresponds to 15.3 per 100,000 people suffering drug overdose fatalities. The number of overdose deaths, a majority from prescription drugs, in Pennsylvania has increased nearly 90% over the last 15 years. These troubling statistics plague our commonwealth as we are faced with this great challenge.

Addressing the Problem:

While the problem may never be completely resolved, a multi-faceted collaboration of healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, prescribers, and patients are working together to reduce the impact of this crisis.

PPA has developed resources to help pharmacists prevent drug diversion and recognize prescription drug abuse. Pharmacists typically see a patient more times per year than any other healthcare professional. Knowing the signs and what to do when you see them could prove to be crucial in saving your patient’s life.

Pharmacists Opioid Dispensing Guidelines

Opioid Dispensing Guidelines - These Guidelines developed by the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Health, in order to provide assistance and Guidance to pharmacists on addressing diversion issues.  The Guidelines are a complement to the Prescribing ones that appear below.

Thank you to the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association for sponsoring this latest podcast episode. 

Dr. Thomas  S. Franko

Assistant Professor Pharmacy Practice   150-180 South River Street, 325   (570) 408-4295


After service as a clinical pharmacist in outpatient chronic pain management, Dr. Franko joined Wilkes University in 2013. He maintains an ambulatory care practice site with the Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education in Clarks Summit, PA. He is highly involved with the pain management and anticoagulation programs within the Wright Center.

Along with pharmacy students, Dr. Franko trains pharmacy and medical residents from Moses Taylor Hospital and the Wright Center. His interests are in pain management, primary care and incorporating the arts into pharmacy education.  

Education and Training  

Doctor of Pharmacy, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Philadelphia, PA Pharmacy Practice Residency, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Wilkes-Barre, PA Certificates and Certifications  Basic Life Support Pennsylvania Licensed Pharmacist Pennsylvania Authorized Immunizing Pharmacist Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist