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Cincinnati's Pharmaceutical Diversion Squad

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 61 Issue: 10 Dated: (October 1992) Pages: 22-26
J J Burke
Date Published
5 pages
This article describes the formation, training, and operations of the Cincinnati Police Division's special squad to coordinate pharmaceutical diversion investigations.
The squad was formed in early 1990 when top administrators in the Cincinnati Police Division recognized the need for an organized approach to pharmaceutical diversion investigations in the city. After securing equipment and supplies and selecting qualified personnel (four investigators, a commanding sergeant, and a secretary), the squad was trained in the identification of controlled and noncontrolled substances and the drug scheduling system used by pharmacists, relevant State criminal laws and pharmacy regulations, the recognition of forged and altered prescription forms, and the identification of typical scams used by those who attempt to obtain drugs illegally. Squad members also received instruction in the theft and abuse of drugs by health care professionals. To augment their training, squad members attended seminars offered by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. Within the first 3 months of the squad's operation, investigators visited every pharmacy in the city to gain knowledge of pharmaceutical procedures and acquaint pharmacy employees with the squad's work. The squad also attends district roll calls to instruct uniform officers in how they can assist the squad's efforts. The squad uses the media to inform the public and potential perpetrators of its work. Interagency cooperation also facilitates the squad's operations. The types of cases addressed by the squad are forged and false prescriptions, "doctor shoppers," and Medicaid fraud. During the first calendar year of its existence the squad made a considerable impact upon the drug diversion problem in southwest Ohio.