An Update on Controlled Drugs

Presenter: Pam Mosedale BVetMed MRCVS, RCVS Practice Standards Scheme Assessor, Editor of the BSAVA Guide to the Use of Veterinary Medicines, an SQP Assessor for AMTRA, and some locum work in her spare time

Despite understanding the importance of our responsibility towards the use of controlled drugs, a webinar discussing this specific topic was always unlikely to enthuse me. However after watching last Thursday’s Platinum Member’s webinar, Pam Mosedale turned what could have been an exceedingly dry subject into an interesting and practical update on the supply and storage of control drugs (CDs) which would benefit the entire practice team.

For those of us feeling a bit rusty about control drug categorisation, Pam reviewed the 5 schedules of controlled drugs. Schedule 1 CDs which include drugs such as cannabis are irrelevant clinically to vets. Schedule 2-5 are the most relevant and include drugs such as methadone and fentanyl in schedule 2, buprenorphone in schedule 3 and the benzodiazepines and ketamine in schedule 4. However as of the 30th of November ketamine will be reclassified as a schedule 2 drug meaning there will be a legal requirement to lock ketamine in a control drug cabinet (already recommended by the professional code of conduct) and all purchase and supply must be recorded within a control drug register.

Pam covered the requirements for a control drug register and control drug cabinet in great detail within this webinar. All schedule 2 drugs and 4 specific schedule 3 drugs (including buprenorphine) should be stored within a locked immovable container which can only be opened by a vet or persons authorised by him/her. These drugs need to be kept in a lockable bag, case or glove box if taken out of the practice on a visit. For those stored in a vehicle, as is common for large animals vets, these drugs need to locked within a container which is fixed to the boot of a car. The supply and use of all car stored drugs should also be recorded within a separate control drugs register.

If you’re uncertain about the suitability of your control drug cupboard, Pam strongly advises contacting the police’s control drug liaison officer (CDLO) who will visit your practice and offer advice which, in Pam’s experience, can be very helpful. The CDLO can also observe the destruction of out of date stock of schedule 2 controlled drugs which need to be denatured rendering them irretrievable. Denature kits are available and this process needs to be witnessed either by a CDLO, a practice standard inspector, an authorised person from the VMD, or an independent vet. Pam explains, however, that an independent vet is not, for example, a locum working for the practice, or a vet covering the practice’s emergency OOH work. An independent vet can only be defined as a vet that truly has no association with the practice.

There is a lot of detail offered within this webinar including the ordering of CDs, writing prescriptions for schedule 2 and 3 CDs , the control drug register and the use of standard operating procedures, all of which would act as an excellent reference point for anyone responsible for CDs within their practice. This does of course include all vets but it is also essential that all nurses and receptionists are also aware of the current CD regulations, which is why this webinar would make an excellent and essential addition to any practice’s ‘lunch and learn’ CPD programme.

The Stethoscope (MRCVS)