Investigation of Allegations in relation to Controlled Drugs under Misuse of Drugs Legislation Position Statement
Investigation of Allegations in relation to Controlled Drugs under Misuse of Drugs Legislation
On behalf of the NI Local Intelligence Network and
British Medical Association (NI)
Royal College of Nurses
Royal College of Midwives
Pharmacy Forum (NI)
Association of Pharmacy Technicians (UK)
1.The Controlled Drugs Local Intelligence Network (LIN) in Northern Ireland is constituted under statute and consists of Controlled Drugs Accountable Officers (AOs) for designated bodies. It also consists of representatives from various responsible Bodies and details are available at:
- As part of the business of the LIN, AOs share information in respect of on-going concerns involving Controlled Drugs (CDs) and a variety of professional staff. As part of the discussions on cases, AOs have raised the issue of publicising the importance of all staff adhering to controlled drugs legislation.
- It has been evident that through the work of the LIN, cases have emerged whereby staff have been involved in the theft and/or unlawful possession and use of Controlled Drugs. Investigation of such cases has produced sufficient evidence to lead to criminal prosecution and/or professional regulatory action.
- It has also been evident that the majority of offences include Schedule 3 to 5 Controlled Drugs.
- The LIN has raised the need for raising awareness of:
- The implications of controlled drugs governance arrangements with all staff
- The need to recognise underlying mental health or addiction issues in staff and encourage earlier intervention to reduce the risk of actions leading to professional or criminal admonishment.
- Representatives of the LIN have therefore discussed this issue with a range of professional representative groups and we now write with this joint position statement to all staff that work to deliver health and social care services.
- Investigation and Prosecution of Controlled Drugs Offences
All organisations that handle Controlled Drugs are required to have sufficient governance arrangements in place to reduce risk of diversion and ensure the appropriate use of Controlled Drugs. This will include a range of measures such as stock control, monitoring and audit.
- Where there are suspicions of diversion / theft, organisations are duty bound to investigate the matter and liaise with the relevant authority bodies.
Possession and supply of all Controlled Drugs, from Schedule 2 (e.g. diamorphine) to Schedule 5 (e.g. co-codamol) are governed by Misuse of Drugs legislation. All organisations are required to investigate or support an investigation of any alleged breach of this legislation, and forward referral to Police Service of Northern Ireland and/or professional regulatory body as appropriate.
- Occupational Health
It is recognised that a proportion of the public (including those that provide health and social care services) will suffer from mental health issues. Inter-related to this may be misuse of substances and/or addiction.
- All health and social care staff have access to confidential counselling services through their employer or their professional bodies and should be encouraged to seek help at the earliest possible time.
- Furthermore, if there is a concern about a fellow member of staff, everyone is duty bound to raise that concern as appropriate as soon as possible in order to protect the health and well-being of patients and of the member of staff.
- Professional Representative Bodies
Professional representative bodies provide support to their members ranging from professional guidance and training through to individual confidential support. Professionals are encouraged to contact their professional representative body should they require any help around the management and use of Controlled Drugs.