Who We Are and What We Do: Diversion Control

Take a peek into the inner workings of the Drug Enforcement Administration in the Museum’s 2019 lecture series “Who We Are and What We Do.” Elizabeth L. Maurer, Curator of Education for the DEA Museum, moderates a panel discussion with three members of DEA Diversion Control: Justin Wood, Justin Brown, and Donetta Spears.

Diversion investigators enforce the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the Chemical Diversion and Trafficking Act (CDTA) regarding the manufacture, distribution and dispensing of legally produced controlled substances and listed chemicals. They prevent diversion of controlled substances and listed chemicals into the illicit market, while ensuring an adequate uninterrupted supply of pharmaceutical controlled substances and listed chemicals to meet the legitimate medical, commercial, and scientific needs of the public.

In a time when the opioid crisis is front and center in our minds and media, it is critical to know who is working for our safety in the world of pharmaceutical drugs. Many problems associated with drug abuse are the result of legitimately made controlled substances being diverted from their lawful purpose into illicit drug traffic. Under federal law, all businesses that import, export, manufacture, or distribute controlled substances; all health professionals licensed to dispense, administer, or prescribe them; and all pharmacies authorized to fill prescriptions must register with the DEA. Diversion investigations involve, but are not limited to, physicians who sell prescriptions to drug dealers or abusers; pharmacists who falsify records and subsequently sell the drugs; employees who steal from inventory and falsify orders to cover illicit sales; prescription forgers; and individuals who commit armed robbery of pharmacies and drug distributors.