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Home » Health Professionals » Prescribing Information » Controlled Drugs and Palliative Care

Controlled drugs

Some prescription medicines are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation (and subsequent amendments). These medicines are called controlled medicines or controlled drugs. 

Every occasion where controlled drug management has not gone according to plan must be reported to the CDAO via the Controlled Drugs Reporting Website for example:

  • Prescribing error
  • Dispensing error
  • Balance discrepancy
  • Lost medication
  • Lost prescription.

Page contents 

controlled drugs.jpg

Understanding pain and what to do about it

Stopping opioids

Choice - towards an evidence based approach

Patient Web Resources

Pain Toolkit


Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer (CDAO) 

The Clinical Commissioning Group is a responsible body and not required to appoint a CDAO.

NHS England is a designated body and has appointed a CDAO in each area team. The East Anglia Area Team CDAO is Dr Leonie Prasad. Contact: england.ea-cdao@nhs.net    

Please register to use the NHS Controlled Drugs Reporting website in order to: 

  • Report CD incidents to the CDAO 
  • Request an Authorised Witness for stock CD destruction 

Reporting concerns

If you have ANY concerns relating to CD misuse or diversion, or any running balance discrepancy that cannot be resolved within 48 hours, contact the CDAO and the police CD Liaison Officer for your area immediately.

Police Controlled Drug Liaison Officers

Mr Gavin Guy, Cambridge City, Cambridge East, Cambridge South 
07802 451 130 
or Gavin.Guy@cambs.pnn.police.uk

DC Harvey Nutton, Huntingdonshire, Fenland, Peterborough 
07736 084 567 
or Harvey.Nutton@cambs.pnn.police.uk

NICE guidance

NICE have published Controlled drugs: safe use and management (NG46)  

There is also an associated NICE pathway 

Destruction of controlled drugs 

To request an Authorised Witness for the destruction of stock Schedule 2 CDs please visit their website.

You can apply for a T28 exemption online .

You can check if you already have T28 exemption online.


Practices and the CCG will need to be able to demonstrate to the CDAO that they have:

  • Established and operate appropriate arrangements for securing the safe management and use of controlled drugs; which must include appropriate arrangements for compliance with the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and subordinate legislation under that Act.
  • Systems for recording concerns (including complaints) relating to the safe management or use of controlled drugs, and incident reporting systems for untoward incidents relating to the safe management or use of controlled drugs.
  • Up to date standard operating procedures in relation to the management and use of controlled drugs, which cover (amongst other matters) best practice relating to:
    • the prescribing, supply and administration of controlled drugs, and
    • clinical monitoring of patients who have been prescribed controlled drugs.
  • Established and operate appropriate arrangements for monitoring and auditing the management of controlled drugs, including assessing, investigating, analysing and responding to concerns and incidents.

Practices and the CCG must co-operate and share information with the CDAO.

The CQC has published a series of GP myth busters, including No. 28 Management of controlled drugs 

Continuing Professional Development 

Dispenser Training October 2019

Copy of presentation 

CD list for printing (shopping list style)

Example of how much detail to put in a SOP

PrescQIPP host webinars on CD management, these are broadcast live then made available as recordings. 

  • Wednesday 18 October 2017: Opioid Aware Next Steps Webinar (Session 2 of 2) - Dr Ruth Bastable 
  • Monday 16 October 2017: Opioid Aware Webinar (Session 1 of 2) - Dr Ruth Bastable 
  • Wednesday 12 July 12 2017: How to Avoid Inappropriate Prescribing of Controlled Drugs Webinar - Dr Sam Bhima 
  • Tuesday 6 December 2016: Opioid Management of Pain in Secondary Care - Dr Mark Abrahams 
  • Wednesday 19 October 2016: Dealing with Drug Seeking Behaviour Webinar - Dr Ruth Bastable

The Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Royal College of Anaesthetists has developed a new resource to support the safe and rational use of opioid medicines. The decision to prescribe is underpinned by applying best professional practice; understanding the condition, the patient and their context and understanding the clinical use of the drug. 

The MHRA has developed two education modules for medical, nursing and pharmaceutical professions – opioids and benzodiazepines.

The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom has approved this learning module for up to 2.5 CPD credits.

Guidance on how to complete e-Learning modules can also be found on the .Gov website.