Barbara Hersh, Veterinary Operations Manager at CUBEX, started her career as a veterinary surgical nurse and inventory supervisor. Today, she helps veterinary clinics improve their controlled drug management, meet DEA compliance, and increase profit margin.

Even the most conscientious veterinary clinics are likely making one of six common mistakes in controlled substance management:

  • Securing the Controlled Substances. These drugs must always be locked up. Many times, they are removed for use and there is a delay before returning them to their secure location, or drawn up into a syringe and placed on a patient’s cage for later use. Lockboxes that are not secured to the countertop or wall are a no-go as well.
  • An unlocked safe or secure area. In busy practices, we too often find that the safe or closet is left unlocked during practice hours, failing to meet the dual key requirement.
  • A single drug log. DEA regulations require that practitioners maintain inventories and records of Schedules I and II controlled substances separately from those of Schedules III, IV and V, so that they are readily retrievable and separate from other business records.
  • Failing to reconcile logs with inventory. Without reconciling, diversion isn’t always caught. Proper controlled substance inventory management requires daily reconciliation to make sure logs are up to date.
  • Misinterpretation of DEA requirements. The DEA tells us what to do but is not always clear on how to do it. Most veterinary practices we work with have the best intentions, but fail in the required frequency of reporting, or the day-to-day application of their controls.
  • Meeting federal compliance standards, but failing to review state law. In reaction to the opioid crisis, many states, such as VA, have recently issued laws with new requirements for drug management.

Some systems are flawed from the get-go. In one recent visit to a veterinary hospital, the DVM demonstrated the problem: their existing drug storage consisted of a small, under-counter refrigerator and a lockbox mounted to a shelf. To prove a point, he walked over, picked up the shelf, lockbox and all, and walked out.

In other cases, it’s the day-to-day that cause veterinary practices to fall short of DEA compliance. Clinic staff is focused on their top priority: patient care. If inventory management is laborious and manual, they’re likely to think, “I’ll just log it later.” Daily demands in a busy practice make it easy to share keys, forget to record transactions, and count inventory sporadically.

It’s these kinds of compliance gaps and misinterpretation of the complex DEA regulations that CUBEX solutions address automatically. CUBEX integrated solutions, a blend of hardware and software, provide:

  • DEA-compliant weight and lock security
  • Fingerprint scan to auto-log who accesses drugs, and when
  • Automated data collection and reporting

Is it time for your clinic to simplify your DEA compliance? Learn how CUBEX can change your practice.

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For DEA security requirements, visit
For the complete DEA Practitioner’s Manual, visit