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Reminder: pharmacists MUST NOT prescribe drugs listed in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, including narcotics, benzodiazepines, and other targeted substances

July 27, 2016

ACP has recently been notified by the Triplicate Prescription Program (TPP) that approximately 150 pharmacists have recently prescribed narcotics, benzodiazepines, and other targeted substances.

As per Standard 11.7 of the Standards of Practice for Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians, pharmacists must not prescribe any drugs listed in the schedules of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Actincluding but not limited to drugs listed in the Narcotic Control Regulations and the Benzodiazepines and Other Targeted Substances Regulations. 

Please carefully review these schedules to ensure that you are familiar with all drugs listed to avoid inadvertently prescribing a drug falling under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. For example, although Zopiclone and Zolpidem are both typically used to treat insomnia, Zopiclone can be prescribed by pharmacists but Zolpidem cannot because it is listed as a class 1 targeted substance (see links above).

ACP receives regular reports from the TPP identifying all pharmacists who have prescribed narcotics, benzodiazepines, or other targeted substances. If you have been identified in the most recent report, you will receive a letter from ACP’s complaints director in the coming weeks. If the reported information is correct, and you have prescribed a controlled drug or a narcotic, we ask that you not repeat this practice. If the reported information is incorrect, you will be asked to liaise with Alberta Netcare to correct the patient record.