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Treatment Programs & Controlled Substance Security

For narcotics and drug treatment programs, controlled substance security is critical. Safe storage impacts employees, staff and patients alike.

First, before implementing a new or updated security system, treatment programs are encouraged to contact their local DEA to be sure the system is compliant.

A number of factors impact the level of security required for a treatment program, including the location, number of patients, security guards, physicians and staff connected with the program.

For proper storage of substances, treatment programs should select a UL- listed safe, steel cabinet or vault that can withstand:

  • 30 man minutes against surreptitious entry
  • 10 man minutes against forced entry
  • 20 man hours against lock manipulation
  • 20 man hours against radiological attack

Furthermore, for safes those weighing less than 750 pounds, safes or security containers should be bolted, strapped or secured to the floor or the wall. Depending on the quantity and type of pharmaceutical being stored, an alarm system connected to police or other security agency is critical too. Vaults must be equipped with an alarm system.

The area where the substance is stored should only accessible to a minimum of authorized employees. Should a non-authorized person pass through the area, like maintenance staff or a business guest, adequate written observation of the area must be made by an authorized employee.

And when dispensing narcotic substances, DEA regulations call for dispensing only by a professional employed by the facility who hasn’t been previously dependent on drugs. That’s a licensed practitioner, registered nurse, practical nurse or pharmacist only. Patients must wait in an area physically separated from the substance storage and dispensing area.

A system for reporting suspicious orders of controlled substances must be in place too. The registrant from the treatment program should report these instances to the Field Division Office of the DEA. Furthermore, a plan for reporting theft or loss of substances should be in place if the worst occurs. Within one business day of discovery of a theft or loss, send written notification to the Field Division Office, including:

  • the quantity lost
  • the specific substance lost
  • whether the incident corresponds with a specific person
  • a pattern of losses (if any)
  • if the specific controlled substances are candidates for diversion
  • local trends or indicators

Safety is the ultimate goal for all parties in pharmaceutical operations. Treatment programs should all reasonable steps to ensure substances are properly handled.  From methadone clinics to drug treatment programs for addiction to pain killers, Lortab, hydrocodone, norco, vicodin oxycontin or other prescription drugs, proper security is a must to be in compliance with DEA security requirements and regulations.


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NarcoticsSafes.com, A Division of K.L. Security Enterprises, Inc.

928 Robinson Street

West Lafayette, IN 47906. USA

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