Drug Thefts at VA Hospitals Continue, Despite New Prevention Efforts

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Drug thefts by employees at Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals are continuing, despite new prevention efforts, according to data obtained by the Associated Press.

Dozens of new criminal investigations have been launched by federal authorities into possible thefts of opioids and other drugs by VA employees. Thirty-six cases were opened by the VA Inspector General’s office from October 1 through May 19, the article notes. There are a total of 108 open criminal investigations involving missing prescriptions, theft or unauthorized drug use.

The VA announced new efforts in February to combat drug thefts, including more inspections, employee drug tests and more internal audits. “We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding drug theft,” Poonam Alaigh, VA’s Acting Undersecretary for Health, told the AP. “We have security protocols in place and will continue to work hard to improve it.”