The "black box" of prescription drug diversion

James A. Inciardi, Hilary L. Surratt, Theodore J. Cicero, Steven P. Kurtz, Steven S. Martin, Mark W. Parrino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

75 Scopus citations


A variety of surveys and studies are examined in an effort to better understand the scope of prescription drug diversion and to determine whether there are consistent patterns of diversion among various populations of prescription drug abusers. Data are drawn from the RADARS System, the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, the Delaware School Survey, and a series of quantitative and qualitative studies conducted in Miami, Florida. The data suggest that the major sources of diversion include drug dealers, friends and relatives, smugglers, pain patients, and the elderly, but these vary by the population being targeted. In all of the studies examined, the use of the Internet as a source for prescription drugs is insignificant. Little is known about where drug dealers are obtaining their supplies, and as such, prescription drug diversion is a black box requiring concentrated, systematic study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-347
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Addictive Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009


  • Club drugs
  • Diversion
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Prescription drugs

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    Inciardi, J. A., Surratt, H. L., Cicero, T. J., Kurtz, S. P., Martin, S. S., & Parrino, M. W. (2009). The "black box" of prescription drug diversion. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 28(4), 332-347.