Pharmacy supplier Valley Northern is manufacturing and supplying Controlled Drugs (CD) denaturing kits to tackle the growing number of deaths due to drug misuse.

Darren Pittock, sales executive at Valley Northern Drug, said: ‘Drug denaturing helps to ensure the safety of members of the public, especially children, who may otherwise have access to harmful drugs.

‘Of particular concern is drug addicts, who may attempt to retrieve control drugs that have been disposed of.’

Denaturing drugs

In 2016, there were more than 2,500 deaths due to drug misuse in England and Wales, a 78% increase since statistics began in 1993.

The Home Office and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said that ‘all CD in Schedule 2, 3 and 4 should be destroyed by being denatured and rendered irretrievable before being placed into pharmaceutical waste containers and sent for incineration’.

Denaturing kits, which are plastic boxes containing absorbent material, aim to increase rates of recovery from drug dependency, as they render drugs harmless and without value.

Adrian Pittock, marketing director at Valley Northern, said: ‘Drug disposal is an industry requirement and has strict regulations.


Effective method? 

In a study conducted by Dr Matt Traynor, head of department of Pharmacy at the University of Hertfordshire, between 78 and 111% of the parent drug in morphine were found to be still present in six tested commercial kits after 48 hours.

Dr Traynor said: ‘All the commercially available CD denaturing kits tested didn’t destroy the controlled drug tested but simply encapsulated it in gel.

‘The danger of this is that current guidelines require CD destruction kits to be securely stored for only 48 hours, after which they can be disposed of as pharmaceutical waste.

‘This means the parent form of the drug is still present and could potentially be recovered and abused.’