Controlled Drugs (CD) Schedules

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 places controls on certain medicines. The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 split those drugs into 5 schedules. The schedules correspond to the drugs therapeutic usefulness and misuse potential.

  • Schedule 2 (controlled drugs storage & register) 

Examples: Diamorphine, Morphine, Fentanyl, Codeine, Oxycodone and Dihydrocodeine. 

Are subject to safe custody requirements and so must be stored in a locked CD cabinet which can only be opened by the person in lawful possession of the CD or a person authorised by that person. A register must be kept for Schedule 2 CDs and this register must comply with the relevant regulations. The destruction of CDs in Schedule 2 must be appropriately authorised and the person witnessing the destruction must be authorised to do so. 

  • Schedule 3 (not all schedule 3 need controlled drugs storage – no register 

Examples: Buprenorphine, Gabapentin, Midazolam, Pregabalin, Temazepam, and Tramadol hydrochloride. 

There is no legal requirement to record schedule 3 medicines in the controlled drugs register. Some services may choose to do so. You must store certain schedule 3 medicines in the controlled cupboard. This includes, for example, Buprenorphine and Temazepam. There are other schedule 3 medicines that you do not need to store in the controlled drugs cupboard. Common examples include Midazolam, Tramadol and Barbiturates. The requirements relating to destruction do not apply unless the CDs are manufactured by the individual. 

The MOCH Team would recommend keeping Schedule 3 CD’s in your CD cabinet and recorded in the CD register as good practice. 

  • Schedule 4 & 5 (does not need controlled drugs storage – no register) 

Examples: Codeine, Diazepam, Lorazepam, Morphine Sulfate solution (Oramorph) 10mg/5ml, Nitrazepam, Zolpidem and Zopiclone.

You do not need to store certain schedule 4 and 5 medicines in the controlled drugs cupboard. You do not need to record them in your controlled drugs register, however some services may choose to do so.  

The MOCH Team would recommend treating all formulations of Codeine as Schedule 2 CD’s as good practice.


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Last updated on 11 September 2020 at 15:40 by Samantha Russell