Investigation into the functionality of controlled drug denaturing/destruction kits
Context: Throughout the UK a large amount of unwanted, expired or patient returned controlled drugs are disposed of every day, in community and hospital pharmacies, veterinary surgeries, hospices, private hospitals and industrial settings. This is mostly achieved through the use of commercially available controlled drug destruction/denaturing kits, but what do these kits actually do to the drug within them? Objective: The primary aim of this study was to investigate the effect of six commercially available kits on morphine, a chosen model controlled drug. The secondary aim was to establish if the kits could be adapted to chemically destroy any drug disposed within it. Materials and methods: Morphine was dispensed in to six commercially available controlled drug destruction kits at a known concentration. The instructions on the kits were followed and after 48h the amount of drug remaining was determined by HPLC. In addition a new kit containing sodium perborate was tested in the same way. Results: Between 78 and 111% of the parent drug was found to still be present in the commercial kits tested after 48h. In the sodium perborate 5% kit this level fell to 22%. Discussion and conclusions: In conclusion all the commercially available CD denaturing kits tested do not destroy the controlled drug (morphine) tested but simply encapsulated it in gel. This means the parent form of the drug is still present and could potentially be recovered and abused. The new kit containing sodium perborate was much more effective in chemically destroying the parent drug but care must be taken in its use.