Module 1: Professional Accountability and Prescribing

Lesson 4

Storage and transportation of controlled drugs and substance approach to increase safety

RNs and NPs are sometimes required to store and transport patient medications (e.g., from a pharmacy to a care setting, from a care setting back to a pharmacy, or during a patient transfer from one facility to another). In these situations, RNs and NPs must verify that their agency policy supports medication disposal and transportation as part of the nursing role. If an agency supports these practices, then being in possession of these medications is not illegal as the nurse is viewed as an agent of the patient.

Any controlled drug or substance must be listed and stored in a secure area that is accessible only by the practitioner and persons authorized by the practitioner to have access. Reasonable steps must be taken to ensure the security of listed substances during transport. If  a loss or theft of a listed controlled drug or substance occurs, it must be reported within 10 days to the Federal Minister of Health (Canada Gazette, (2012) New classes of practitioners regulations).