Overseeing the safer management of Countrolled Drugs
Robert Allan National Controlled Drugs Officer Care Quality Commission
Care Quality Commission (CQC) are the regulator of health and care services across England and inspect and rate services.
Arrangements for controlled drugs within a service are assessed along with arrangements for all other medicines as part of CQC’s inspection processes. When we inspect services, we expect the arrangements in place for controlled drugs to cover all aspects of the controlled drug journey i.e. ordering and receipt, safe storage, record keeping, prescribing, clinical use, destruction and so on. The arrangements must include how to investigate and report concerns and should include auditing and monitoring. The arrangements should take account of current national guidance, such as the NICE guidance, NHS Improvement safety alerts and so on and be regularly reviewed to reflect developments. Our inspection findings feed into and inform our overall assessment of a service and whether we need to take any enforcement action.
Robert gave a useful CQC update on overseeing the safer management of controlled drugs, referring to the CQC Annual report and informing us of CQC activities in this area.
Reporting and Investigating Concerns
Grant Powell Operational Team Leader, Enforcement Group Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
I am a former Police Officer having retired in 2013 following over 30 years’ service with the Metropolitan Police, National Crime Squad and Serious Organised Crime Agency. I then took employment with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency as an enforcement investigator. During 2015 it was identified that there was an increasing issue with the diversion of benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines from the legitimate supply chain and I was appointed as a team leader investigating the issue.
Grant gave an illuminating and alarming talk about the sale and use of controlled drugs.
Fatalities involving benzodiazepines is increasing. Quite often people are getting the drugs from illicit websites. There is a large amount of money to be made in this illegal trade.
“There is very little control over some so called controlled drugs”
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, for which Grant works, focuses only on UK supply chain products, looking at unlawfully diverted products.
“Major wholesale dealers are wilfully neglecting their responsibilities/not completing any due diligence and permitting excessive purchase.”
Police investigations and prosecutions are now happening, these are criminal offences and prison sentences are being given.
There is involvement by UK organised crime groups. Associated crimes – burglaries at wholesale dealers and theft from lorries in transit from producers to suppliers.
There has been a reduction in the UK supplied controlled drugs which is a positive.
Emerging problem – purple drank – combination of cough syrup with soft drink and boiled sweets. From US – becoming popular in UK – links to hip hop subculture.
Controlled Drugs Abuse and Diversion by Healthcare Staff: The scale of the issue and learning from investigations
Wendy McAllister - Association of Police Controlled Drugs Liaison Officer
Wendy is one of the most experienced CDLO’s nationally and now assists on the national training course and has become the secretary of the APCDLO, Association of Police Controlled Drugs Liaison.