Controlling Narcotics

Special precautions are necessary for storing and handling narcotics because the manufacture, sale, and use of narcotics are controlled by federal legislation. Here are the steps that must be taken to secure narcotics.

• Keep narcotics in a double-locked drawer or a closet.

• One nurse per shift must keep the keys to the narcotic drawer on his/her person.

• A sign-out sheet must be used to control the inventory of narcotics.

• Document on the MAR or similar records when a patient is given a narcotic.

Controlled substances (narcotics) are generally counted at least once per shift. The amount of the drug available is compared with the numbers that have been used for patients and signed for on the narcotics form. Each agency has a policy to govern this activity and to determine what action should be followed if the count is not accurate.

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