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Drugs tampering

A member has reported that drugs kept on board were found to have been tampered with. The drug was either morphine or pethidine and was kept in a plastic ampoule. Someone used a small needle, inserted into the top cap of the ampoule (below the imprinted ‘twist arrow’). After either all or some of the drug had been removed, any shortfall was replaced with a clear liquid – the levels of tampered and non-tampered were the same. The hole was then covered with what looked like clear modellers glue.

Members may need to re-consider their own security arrangements. Wherever drugs are kept on board vessels or installations, security is paramount. Apart from serious concern over drugs going astray, the dangers of this sort of tampering are evident. It highlights that, at an inventory check, personnel need to give the ampoules more than just a cursory glance. Despite whatever security is in place, this incident underlines the extreme importance of carefully checking any medical supplies before use, especially drugs.

Safety Event

Published: 1 January 2002
Download: IMCA SF 01/02

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