Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

The problems of controlling controlled drugs

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 08 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c7040
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

Medicine has endured much regulation and intervention: now even teachers look at us with sympathy. This regulation takes the form of annual appraisals (and of course revalidation, when it arrives in 2050) and new contracts that dictate much of our day to day activity—medical micromanagement. Professionalism is mistrusted. Perhaps we have only ourselves to blame, and perhaps this is all in the best interest of patients.

One area now more closely regulated is controlled drugs. Many general practitioners once carried one or two vials of diamorphine, which was given very occasionally on …

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