Schools Training

Drug Safety Training for Medical Professionals

13 MAR 2013
Career Path : Medical Office Assistant

Enforcing the laws surrounding controlled drugs often falls on medical professionals. Some medicines, especially pain killers, are particularly dangerous because they are dependency forming or may even have a purely recreational allure. As well as the assessments made by doctors when they issue a prescription, medical and pharmacy support staff must keep careful guard to make sure that medications are being distributed correctly. This is one of the parts of both medical office assistant training and pharmacy technician courses.


Prescription drugs include a wide range of substances, many of which are controlled only because they should be administered with medical oversight. The process of acquiring some involves a doctor filling out a special prescription pad and making a record of what they issued to a patient. The former uses security features like watermarks, similar to what is used in cheques and other things vulnerable to counterfeit, while the latter step makes back tracking easier.


Meanwhile, at a pharmacy, pharmacist and pharmacy technician training includes safe handling and storage of drugs. A perfect inventory is kept of all drugs on the premises. This means that if there is a shortage of even a few pills it is easy to catch. This prevents both drug abuse and poisonings.  They are also trained to look for evidence of a counterfeit and to contact the office of the doctor to confirm a prescription was issued. This is one of the reasons why a prescription has detailed contact information for the doctor on it and why it takes so long to get a first time prescription filled. Lastly, they also look for suspicious cases where a patient seems to be consuming large amounts of an addictive drug or shows other signs of a dependency.


Unfortunately, sometimes controlled substances are needed in large amounts by someone who is not an addict. For example in the instance of chronic pain, a patient may be given access to relatively high levels of opiates. In these instances, pharmacy technician training includes watching out for false positives. Generally, however, a call to the doctor is all it takes to make sure everything in legitimate.


When a pharmacist calls the doctor, incidentally, someone with medical office assistant training will probably be the person answering the phone. Because of their duties, and the amount of paperwork produced by a practicing doctor, there is a need for at least one administrator to keep tabs on the mountain of paperwork that is created.


This sort of anti-drug abuse efforts are important. Both doctors and pharmacists might lose their licence to practice or dispense, effectively ending their career.  Understandably, this means that even if their might ever be temptation to behave unethically, the emphasis is on maintaining the law.



Visit Algonquin Careers Academy for more information on pharmacy technician courses.