Painless control of controlled substances


Address correspondence and reprint requests to:
Dr. Gigi S. Davidson, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27606. E-mail:


Objective: To explain the regulations regarding controlled substance use, and present the veterinary practitioner with simple systems for ensuring complete regulatory compliance.

Data source: United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency.

Conclusions: All practitioners using controlled substances should perform mental audits and ask the following questions of their practice: can I trace the ultimate disposition of every dosing unit of controlled substances used in my hospital from purchase to patient? Are all controlled substances stored in an adequately secure location such as a locking cabinet or safe? Have I performed an actual count inventory of all controlled substances in my practice within the last 2 years? Do I have a system that will alert me to any controlled substances that have been diverted or are unaccounted for? Are all of my controlled substance invoices and order forms in an easily retrievable yet secure storage area? Do I have documented policy and procedure indicating my practice standards for compliant use of controlled substances?