As Opioid Crisis Escalates, PTCB Launches Controlled Substances Diversion Prevention Program

Fifth new PTCB specialty certificate is a step toward Advanced CPhT (CPhT-Adv) Certification

September 21, 2020

Washington, DC – The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), the nation’s leading credentialing organization for pharmacy technicians, today launches an Assessment-Based Certificate Program in Controlled Substances Diversion Prevention. By earning the new credential, PTCB Certified Pharmacy Technicians (CPhTs) demonstrate their specialized knowledge in preventing controlled substance diversion across pharmacy practice settings. The new certificate is the first credential with formal training for pharmacy technicians in this area, and is one of five PTCB specialty certificates that count toward becoming an Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT-Adv). 

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s opioid epidemic is escalating as COVID-19 continues. More than 40 states in the US have reported increases in opioid-related mortality and ongoing concerns for those with substance use disorder (SUD) or mental illness. The pandemic is exacerbating many of the conditions that contribute to a rise in SUD, according to the National Institutes of Health. Pharmacy teams face the dual challenge of addressing SUD and COVID-19.

“Our new program contributes to addressing the escalating substance use disorder crisis during COVID-19. Pharmacy technicians are on the front lines working to serve patients during the SUD epidemic and COVID-19 simultaneously,” said PTCB Executive Director and CEO William Schimmel. “We are committed to advancing patient safety through our credential programs. In addition to recognizing CPhTs with specialty knowledge in diversion prevention, our newest certificate establishes another rung in the pharmacy technician career ladder that advances patient care and pharmacy practice as a whole.”

“Controlled substance diversion is an issue throughout the healthcare system. The best defense is a robust diversion prevention plan that prevents, detects, and addresses issues before they cause harm to patients, providers, or the greater community,” said Allison Gallien, CPhT, Senior Project Specialist in Pharmacy Operations at Cardinal Health in Houston. “This new PTCB program for pharmacy technicians covers in detail the checks and balances and other techniques needed to tackle any type of diversion throughout the pharmacy setting.”

To earn the certificate, a candidate must hold an active PTCB CPhT Certification, complete a PTCB-Recognized Controlled Substances Diversion Prevention Education/Training Program, and pass PTCB’s exam covering: consequences of diversion; infection risks to patients; areas of vulnerability in procurement, dispensing, and waste removal; security control measures; signs of impaired health workers; high risk areas of the pharmacy; actions to take during a pharmacy robbery; DEA requirements for record-keeping and inventories; surveillance practices; fraudulent prescription detection; and more related content.

The program is the fifth to be launched of PTCB’s suite of specialty certificates that include Technician Product Verification (TPV), Medication History, Hazardous Drug Management, and Billing and Reimbursement. PTCB will launch certificate programs in Immunization, Point of Care Testing, and the Community Health Worker role in the future. A PTCB CPhT who earns at least four certificates, or three plus PTCB’s Compounded Sterile Preparation Technician (CSPT) Certification, will be designated as a CPhT-Adv. CPhTs can learn more and apply for the certificate programs at



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