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Veterinarians / Large Animal Clinics

For medical practitioners working with animals, including veterinarians, zoologists and large animal clinicians, controlled substances security is critical for good patient care. Safe substance storage impacts employees, staff and animal patients alike.

Federal regulations don’t specifically define the construction requirements for controlled substance storage security cabinets. But the intent of the law is that these substances must be adequately safeguarded. Some factors considered when evaluating a practitioner’s controlled substance security include:

  • how many employees or customers have access to the substances
  • the location
  • use of an effective alarm system
  • quantity of controlled substances kept on hand
  • prior history of theft or loss

The DEA will use these and other indicators to evaluate secure storage. Bottom line: controlled substances must be stored in a securely locked cabinet of substantial construction.

Of particular importance to those in zoos, animal clinics and veterinary offices is handling of carfentanil, etorphine, etorphine-hydrochloride and diprenorphine. Before the initial dispensing of this controlled substance to any person, the registrant must contact the DEA to verify that the person is authorized to handle this.

Carfentanil, Etorphine-Hydrochloride and Diprenorphine are all Schedule II substances; Etorphine is a Schedule I substance. Controlled substances classified as Schedule I or II must be stored in a Class 5 narcotics storage safe. This DEA-approved safe must weigh over 750 pounds. The TL-rated safes should be securely fastened to a wall or floor, and may need to be linked to an alarm system. SafeandVault.com’s Class 5 safes include dual combination modes and can withstand 10 minutes of a brute force attack.

For greater protection for these substances, SafeandVault.com offers TL 30-rated safes. Tested to the highest standards, these safes can withstand a drills, grinders or sledge hammers for a minimum of 30 minutes. Also UL rated fireproof for up to two hours, these safes meet DEA requirements.

The area where controlled substances are stored should only be 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.

To minimize the threat of theft, loss or diversion, veterinarians, zoologists and large animal clinicians need to provide not only physical security. It’s also important to implement procedures to keep unauthorized people out and provide an alarm system where necessary. These procedures include:

  • not employing an individual who has had his or her application for registration with the DEA denied or revoked at any time
  • notifying the nearest DEA Field Office upon discovery of loss or theft
  • storing blank prescription forms, as well as DEA order forms, in secure locations to minimize risk of theft

Security matters for those in every stage of pharmaceutical operations. And with safe practices, practitioners can provide the best care for animal patients, exotic or endangered species, equine and more.


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

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West Lafayette, IN 47906. USA

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