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Handling Drugs And Medication: Do I Need A DBS Check?


Do you need to apply for a DBS Check when handling drugs and medication?

Understandably, there are stringent rules and regulations you need to follow if you handle drugs or medication – and we often get asked about the rules surrounding DBS Checks in these situations.

To answer your questions, we’ve put together this blog about DBS Checks for those handling drugs and medication.

Handling drugs and medication: Applying for a controlled drugs licence

Companies who intend to produce, supply, import or export ‘controlled drugs’ need to apply for a licence from the Drugs and Firearms Licensing Unit (DFLU), which is part of the Home Office.

Controlled drugs are named in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. The government also publishes a list of the most commonly encountered drugs currently controlled under this legislation.

Before applying for a controlled drug licence, all prospective licence holders should apply for an Enhanced DBS Check.

Enhanced DBS Checks for controlled drugs licence holders

An Enhanced DBS Check will reveal any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings the applicant has, as well as any relevant information held by local police.

To be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check, the applicant must meet certain legislative criteria. The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002, as amended by the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (No.2) Regulations 2009/1882 states that anyone applying for or renewing a controlled drugs licence is eligible for an Enhanced Check.

Enhanced DBS Checks fall under three categories: Adult Workforce, Child Workforce and Other Workforce. The workforce will differ based on what the applicant’s role involves.

Controlled drug licence applicants should select ‘Other Workforce’ on the DBS application form.

Someone applying for a Controlled Drugs Licence can therefore obtain the Enhanced DBS Check with the ‘Other Workforce’ as per the following legislation from the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002, as amended by the Police Act  1997 (Criminal Records) (No.2) Regulations 2009/1882:

“Considering the applicant’s suitability to obtain or retain a licence under regulation 5 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2001/3998/regulation/5/made) or under Article 3(2) of Regulation 2004/273/EC or under Article 6(1) of Regulation 2005/111/EC where the question relates to any person who as a result of his role in the body concerned is required to be named in the application for such a licence (or would have been so required if that person had had that role at the time the application was made).”

For more information on obtaining a DBS Check when applying for a controlled drugs licence, see the government’s guidance.

Handling drugs and medication: Delivering medication

Pharmacy or GP practice employees who deliver medication to people’s houses are generally only eligible for a Basic DBS Check.

Basic Checks are available to anyone aged 16 or over, and will reveal any unspent convictions the applicant has.

However, if the person delivering the medication is a healthcare professional also performing a regulated activity they will be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check.

Someone who delivers medication in a hospital, and who has regular access to patients receiving healthcare as part of their normal duties, will be eligible for a Standard DBS Check.

Handling drugs and medication: Pharmacy employees

Different pharmacy employees will be eligible for different levels of DBS Check, depending on their role.

Be sure to get in touch with us if you have any further questions. You can apply for a number of DBS Checks through our simple online platform – most checks are completed within 48 hours. Get started now.

Our blogs are advisory in nature and reflect uCheck Limited’s current thinking about best and common practice in the subjects discussed.

The information contained in our blogs have been provided for information purposes only. This information does not constitute legal, professional, or commercial advice. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the content is up to date, useful and accurate, uCheck gives no guarantees, undertakings, or warranties in this regard, or, for any loss or damage caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with reliance on the use of such information.

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