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Opioid Theft From VA Hospitals Continues Despite New Efforts

(U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Liliana Moreno)
June 06, 2017

New criminal investigations into alleged drug thefts from VA hospitals by employees has highlighted a growing problem faced by the Department of Veteran Affairs, as the use of illegal opioids continues to rise in the United States.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the rate of thefts at VA health facilities was nearly double than those of its civilian counterparts.

The VA has widely announced that it plans to throw its full effort into combatting drug tests through a series of new checks and balances. The VA said it plans to increase the number of inventory checks to once every 72 hours, while also more frequently drug testing VA employees and keeping all medicine under a “double lock and key.”

VA Secretary David Shulkin said he would also play a more productive role in curbing the spike in thefts by reviewing data to elicit answers on how things could be tweaked internally.

According to the VA Inspector General’s Office, 25 cases have been opened in the first half of the fiscal year, which is up from 21 when compared to the same period in 2016.

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