2017 December - Storage of Euthanasia Solution


Under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 (cl 29) restricted substances (S4’s) must be stored ‘in a room or enclosure to which the public does not have access’.

Reception areas, waiting rooms, consult rooms, corridors to these rooms are all examples of areas the public may have access and are therefore unsuitable for the storage of restricted substances.

The Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 (cl 73) requires controlled substances (S8’s) to be stored ‘apart from all other goods (except cash and documents) in a separate room, safe, cupboard or other receptacle securely attached to a part of the premises and kept securely locked when not in immediate use’.

Although Lethabarb® and Valabarb® are schedule 4 appendix D poisons (S4D), the Board strongly recommends that euthanasia solution is stored in a locked receptacle attached to the premises.  Alternatively, the Board also supports veterinarians storing euthanasia solution in a safe with S8 drugs and supports maintaining a register for its use as per the requirements for S8 drugs.

Whilst all S4 medication must only be available under direct veterinary supervision, this additional precaution for euthanasia solution reinforces the need for care and accountability when using this drug.

The tragic consequences of veterinarians and paraprofessional staff having ready access to euthanasia solution were highlighted in the Findings of Inquest conducted by the Coroners Court of Queensland released in February 2017.  These findings also put the profession on notice regarding criminal law duty of care and work health and safety obligations in relation to the storage of euthanasia solution.