Drugs of Addiction (S8)

Drugs of Addiction (Schedule 8)

The veterinary profession is unique in that, unlike our medical or pharmaceutical colleagues, we are able to both prescribe and dispense. This is an essential part of the way we function particularly in ambulatory practices and is the result of long traditions and methods of diagnosing and treating medical or surgical conditions of farm animals. This unique privilege carries a great responsibility and is even more so when dealing with schedule 8 drugs, the drugs of addiction.

In an era when all drugs including antibiotics and other schedule 4 drugs are subject to misuse there is a special need to take care in our handling of those likely to be items of substance abuse which, be it anabolic steroids or narcotics, are more commonly sought for misuse or sale.

To this end all veterinarians handling schedule 8 drugs [includes ketamine and anabolic steroids] are required to record their use in a special prescribed way. This is not optional. This is described in the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 (Regulations).

To quote (reg 111):-

Drug Registers to be kept

  • 1) A person who has possession of drugs of addiction at any place must keep a separate register (a drug register) at that place.
  • 2) A drug register is to be in the form of a book whose pages
    • a) are consecutively numbered; and
    • b) are so bound that they cannot be removed or replaced without trace and
    • c) contain provision for the inclusion of the particulars required to be entered in it.
  • 3) Separate pages of the register must be used for each drug of addiction, and for each form
  • and strength of the drug.
  • 4) The Director-General may from time to time approve the keeping of a drug register in any other form.

The Regulations (reg 112) also provide strict rules on how and when entries should be made.

Entries in drug registers

  • 1) On the day on which a person manufactures, receives, supplies, administers or uses a drug of addiction at any place, the person must enter in the drug register for that place such of the following details as are relevant to the transaction;
    • a) The quantity of drug manufactured, received, supplied, administered or used;
    • b) the name and address of the person to, from or by whom the drug was manufactured, received, supplied, administered or used;
    • c) in the case of a drug that has been administered to an animal or supplied for the treatment of an animal, the species of animal and name and address of the animal's owner;
    • d) in the case of a drug that is supplied or administered on prescription;
      • (i) the prescription reference number; and
      • (ii) the name of the medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, midwife practitioner, dentist or veterinary surgeon by whom the prescription was issued.
    • e) in the case of a drug that has been administered to a patient, the name of the medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, midwife practitioner, dentist by whom, or under whose direct personal supervision, the drug was administered;
    • f) In the case of a drug that has been administered to an animal, the name of the veterinary surgeon by whom, or under whose direct personal supervision, the drug was administered;

The list continues to cover laboratories, etc in the same way.

And finally:-

2) Each entry in a drug register must dated and signed by the person by whom it is made.

Feedback from recent hospital inspections is showing the Board that the profession needs reminding of these strict requirements. While a bound exercise book in which the pages are numbered consecutively [printed on the page and not numbered by the vet] and which has columns which include all the necessary details, a "Register of Drugs of Addiction" can be purchased from most pharmaceutical wholesalers or from Salmat, Print on Demand (Tel: 1300 656 986) This book meets all the requirements for recording and in the front lists the requirements for

  • • storage,
  • • entries,
  • • periodic inventory,
  • • and what to do if drugs are lost or stolen.

Quick Quiz

[1] What happens if you lose or destroy your drug register?

The veterinary practitioner must immediately notify the Department of Health in writing of the fact and of the circumstances. The notification should be addressed to:

Chief Pharmacist
Pharmaceutical Services Branch
NSW Department of Health
PO Box 103
Gladesville 1675

or may be faxed on (02) 9859 5165.

(For advice, telephone the Duty Pharmaceutical Adviser, (02) 9879 3214).

While a drug register must be kept for 2 years for the Department of Health from the date of the last entry, the Veterinary Practice Regulations 2006 (sch 2 15(3)) requires you to retain this record for at least 3 years after it is made. Under the Regulations (reg 119), an accurate inventory of all drugs of addiction must then be created in a new drug register.

[2] What happens when a veterinary practitioner loses (or has stolen from them) a drug of addiction?

Under regulation 124, the practitioner must immediately notify the Director General of the Department of Health. This can be done by telephoning or faxing the Duty Pharmaceutical Adviser, Pharmaceutical Services Branch on Phone: (02) 9879 3214 or Fax: (02) 9859 5165. The relevant details must be entered in the drug register and the police should also be notified where theft has occurred.

[3] What do you do if the drugs are out of date or not required anymore?

A drug of addiction in the possession of a veterinary practitioner for use in connection with their profession and which has become unusable, may legally be destroyed (reg 126):-

  • (i) by a community (retail) pharmacist {in the presence of the practitioner, either at the pharmacy or the practitioner's practice premises} who must record the destruction in the practitioner's drug register. The entry must show the date, the name, professional registration number and signature of the pharmacist and the name and signature of the practitioner,
  • (ii) by or under the direct personal supervision of a police officer, or
  • (iii) by a person authorised by the NSW Department of Health to do so. (Phone the Duty Pharmaceutical Adviser on (02) 9879 3214).

You can not dispose of unwanted S8s in any other manner.