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Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

AmerisourceBergen manages the transportation of medication, including controlled substances, from manufacturers to licensed pharmacies and hospitals.  Our role in the healthcare supply chain uniquely positions us to contribute important expertise and resources to the battle against opioid abuse in the United States.
patient holding prescription bottle

We are committed to joining other healthcare stakeholders, government entities, civic organizations, law enforcement agencies and individuals to overcome this terrible tragedy.

Here's how:

Ensuring safe and secure distribution

Maintaining operational integrity

Advocating for the highest regulatory standards

Community outreach

AmerisourceBergen Response to the Department of Justice Complaint

An Inevitable Outcome of Regulatory and Enforcement Outsourcing

The complaint filed by the Department of Justice attempts to shift the onus of interpreting and enforcing the law from the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to an industry they are tasked with regulating and policing.

Injunctive relief information

AmerisourceBergen has agreed to a nationwide settlement that resolves most of the opioid-related lawsuits filed by state and local government entities across the country. As part of the agreement, court-ordered injunctive relief will apply to each distributor’s Controlled Substance Monitoring Program.

Additional reading

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Washington Examiner

The media are getting the opioid crisis all wrong

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Drug Topics

The Truth About ARCOS and the Opioid Epidemic


Understanding the ARCOS data 

What does the ARCOS data really indicate? 


Community outreach

The AmerisourceBergen Foundation remains committed to providing communities with the resources needed to help prevent opioid misuse. We continue to evaluate how we can best leverage our unique resources to support initiatives or organizations that aim to address the nation’s opioid epidemic.
The AmerisourceBergen Foundation Safe Disposal Support Program
The Safe Disposal Support Program provides organizations with access to drug deactivation pouches or packets that enable community members to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs in a safe manner. The deactivation resources allow for local, on-site disposal and can be distributed to other organizations, individuals or households. Impact as of FY21:
Organizations have received assistance
1.25 million+
Drug deactivation resources donated to date


Ensuring safe and secure drug distribution

AmerisourceBergen does not prescribe drugs, provide them directly to patients or take any action to drive demand for them. We transport medicine from manufacturers to licensed pharmacies, hospitals and other dispensaries. 

Ensuring the safety and security of this process has always been paramount. To achieve this, we continuously evaluate, enhance, strengthen and expand the proven measures we have implemented to maintain the integrity of every order we ship. These processes include:
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Due diligence
Performing extensive due diligence on customers who intend to purchase controlled substances from us and vetting discovered information through a best-in-class diversion control team of internal and external experts before granting them permission to purchase. 
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Order monitoring
Maintaining an order monitoring program with sophisticated technology that tests every controlled substance order against established governing criteria. Orders exceeding those criteria are redirected to experienced diversion control personnel for further analysis and possible cancellation.
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Daily reporting
Providing daily reports to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration of all opioid-based medication orders, including the quantity, type and recipient of each shipped order. 
Ensuring that all customers are appropriately licensed by regulatory agencies and continuously monitoring those customers for "red flag" behavior. Discontinue customer relationships where there is an increased potential for diversion by the customer. Support law enforcement efforts to investigate entities that are acting illegally. 

For more than a decade, these procedures have enabled us to report and stop tens of thousands of suspicious orders. This does not include countless other orders that were never placed with AmerisourceBergen because of our refusal to provide service.

Read our report on safe and secure distribution of controlled substances:

[These] commitments and initiatives... reflect our belief that all companies in healthcare should be constantly looking at ways to innovate, collaborate and enhance existing practices in order to best combat the opioid issue.

Steven H. Collis

Chairman, President and CEO AmerisourceBergen

Maintaining operational integrity

AmerisourceBergen takes very seriously its neutrality as a distributor of controlled substances. As such, we: 
  • Take no action whatsoever to promote prescribing or otherwise increase demand for opioids.
  • Do not offer our sales representatives special compensation or incentives of any kind that target opioid orders. 
  • Continuously monitor all orders and immediately flag those deemed potentially suspicious.


Advocating for the highest regulatory standards

Opioids are heavily regulated by the government; from the time they are produced to the time they are dispensed to patients. Every stakeholder in this process — the manufacturer, distributor, prescriber and dispenser — must strictly adhere to requirements outlined in the Federal Code of Regulations. 

AmerisourceBergen enthusiastically endorses these guidelines and strongly advocates for the implementation of additional measures.