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Police advise after spate of controlled drugs burglaries

6 August 2009

Police have advised veterinary practices to be on their guard following a spate of break-ins in the South East, linked to the theft of controlled drugs (CDs).

“Criminal elements in the South East are targeting practices in Surrey, Hampshire and East Sussex. They may well have targeted, or will target, other practices in all of the neighbouring counties,” warns PC Steve Doswell, Controlled Drugs Liaison Officer in the East Sussex police area.

“Methadone, Ketamine, Alprazolam and Diazepam are all commonly-abused by drug users, and nationally there have been a lot of problems with users buying street heroin that has been cut with Alprazolam,” he added.

PC Doswell offered the following advice to practices:

  • The premises where drugs are held should be alarmed, preferably with direct connection to a central alarm control that alerts the local police for prompt attendance.
  • Schedule 2 or 3 CDs (with safe custody restrictions) must be in a purpose-built cabinet or have a valid exemption certificate (issued annually).
  • The responsible/authorised person for that practice is he or she who holds the CD cabinet key. The key’s use should be controlled at all times: leaving it in a pot/drawer near to the cabinet is not good practice.
  • Up-to-date CD standard operating procedures should be in place, and understood by all staff.
  • A current Controlled Drugs Register should be kept, with the correct sections/headings and up-to-date entries.
  • A list of police Controlled Drugs Liaison Officers (CDLOs) can be found on the Veterinary Medicines Directorate website. CDLOs are authorised to destroy out-of-date drugs, which should be promptly destroyed to limit potential risk. When visiting to destroy such drugs, the CDLO would be able to give advice to individual practices about their security, and other related issues.

More detailed information about the correct storage of controlled drugs can be found in the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme Manual.

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