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Schedule 8 drug destruction

I have out of date Schedule 8 (S8) drugs in my pharmacy, how do I arrange for these to be destroyed?

Drug destructions in the Sydney region (including the Blue Mountains), Wollongong or Newcastle region may be carried out by or under the direct supervision of:

  • an inspector from the Pharmacy Council of NSW (Phone: 1300 197 177)
  • an Inspector from Pharmaceutical Services, NSW Ministry of Health (Phone: (02) 9391 9944)
  • any police officer.

For drug destructions in other regions, contact:

  • Pharmacy Council of NSW (Phone: 1300 197 177)
  • your local police station.

A nurse has brought in a bag of unwanted Schedule 8 (S8) drugs from a nursing home that our pharmacy services. Should I accept them for destruction?

No. The nurse should return them to the nursing home. If you supply any medicine to the nursing home or its residents, you may go to the nursing home and destroy the unwanted Schedule 8 drugs on the premises in the presence of the Director of Nursing.

A doctor (or dentist or vet) has asked me to destroy his unwanted Schedule 8 (S8) drugs. Can I do that? How do I do it?

Yes, a pharmacist working in any retail pharmacy (not necessarily the original supplier of the drugs) may destroy a Schedule 8 drug belonging to a doctor (or dentist or vet), either at the pharmacy or on the premises where the practitioner practices. The pharmacist must record the destruction in the practitioner's drug register, including the date, the practitioner’s name, and the pharmacist’s name and professional registration number. The practitioner must witness the destruction and both the pharmacist and the practitioner must write their signature next to the entries.

The pharmacist does not take possession of the drugs nor enter them into the pharmacy's drug register.

The drugs must be made unrecoverable, de-identified and cause no danger to any person or undue damage to the natural environment. A pharmacist is not obliged to destroy drugs on request.

Schedule 8 medicines storage and access

Where should prescriptions for Schedule 8 (S8) medicines be stored?

Prescriptions dispensed for Schedule 8 medicines (‘drugs of addiction’) must be retained for two years from the date of dispensing and must be kept on the premises where the prescription was dispensed. The prescriptions must also be kept apart from other (S4) prescriptions, except certain ‘specified’ barbiturates (e.g. amylobarbitone, methylphenobarbitone, pentobarbitone, phenobarbitone) and anabolic/androgenic steroidal agents. Further details are available in the
 Guide to Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Legislation for Pharmacists (TG79).

Who can have access to drugs of addiction in a pharmacy?

All drugs of addiction (Schedule 8 medicines) in a pharmacy must be kept locked in a safe at all times except when in immediate use. All keys to the safe which are in the pharmacy must be kept on the person of a pharmacist at all times the pharmacy is open, and must not be left on the premises (except locked in another safe) when the pharmacy is closed. The combination or code for the safe must never be disclosed to any staff member who is not a pharmacist.

Schedule 8 drug register

Can I have a negative number in my drug register?

No. You should never have a negative number in your drug register. Your drug register is a record of what you have in stock in your drug safe. If, for example, you are given a prescription for 40 tablets and you only have 20 in stock, you record in the drug register that you have supplied the 20 tablets with the prescription number. Once you receive a fresh supply from your wholesaler (which you will record in the register) you will then record the supply of the remaining 20 tablets with the appropriate date of that supply using the same prescription number.

Can I ‘write off’ expired, unusable or otherwise unwanted Schedule 8 (S8) medications?

No. A Schedule 8 drug (drug of addiction) cannot be ‘written out’ of a drug register just because it has expired or has become unusable. (It can be transferred to another page of the register if desired, by means of a clear entry in the register.)

The drug register must at all times reflect the actual quantities of all drugs of addiction currently in possession, regardless of whether the drugs are out-dated, unusable or no longer required and regardless of whether the drugs were obtained from a wholesaler for general stock use, from a pharmacy for emergency use, or from a patient (for example, where the patient's dispensed drugs are being held for safekeeping or convenience).

Where can I order a drug register?

All persons engaged in the manufacture, distribution, sale, administration or supply of drugs of addiction must keep a register. Drug registers, as well as ward registers, can be purchased from the State Government printing contractor Stream Solutions.

To order a drug register from Stream Solutions:

Send an order request to Stream Solutions at: streamnswh_sales@stream.net.au. After receiving the order request, the purchaser will be contacted by an account manager to confirm order and freight charges.

All orders will need to be paid for by Credit Card at the time of placing the order. The following registers are available for purchase, with a minimum order of 1 book:

  • Ward Register of Drugs of Addiction NH612005 - Form h32
  • Register of Drugs of Addiction NH612000 - Form h31

Stream Solutions Help Desk may be contacted by telephone but only after an order has been placed. Phone: 1300 786 075

Drug registers may also be purchased from some pharmaceutical wholesalers and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. Subsidiary Drug registers for the dosing of methadone, Subutex and Suboxone (each one has their own) are available from the NSW Pharmacy Guild – Phone: (02) 9467 7100.

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Page Updated: Tuesday 13 November 2018
Contact page owner: Pharmaceutical Services