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BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 11 March 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:606
  1. Harvey Marcovitch, BMJ syndication editor (

    Systems for inspecting controlled drug prescribing “degraded”

    A survey of general practitioners in Leicestershire (UK) has shown they are seriously dissatisfied with the systems in place for handling controlled drugs such as opiates. Their drugs registers were often a “do-it-yourself” design not always complying with the government's misuse of drugs regulations. Policies varied on destroying unused drugs, with two practices claiming to store them indefinitely as the police had refused to collect them for authorised disposal.

    Fewer than half the practices had been inspected in the preceding 10 years despite the requirement for regular inspections under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. It seems that abolishing the regional medical officer posts in 1991 has led to the inspection system being degraded, and the arrangements for ensuring regulations are followed have largely lapsed …

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