ON MARKET: The Buttery outreach programs manager Christian Gruft says the people who want these drugs will find a way to get them.
ON MARKET: The Buttery outreach programs manager Christian Gruft says the people who want these drugs will find a way to get them. DAVID NIELSEN

Hospital loses date-rape drug

DRUGS which can cause severe hallucinations and other serious side-effects have been lost orstolen from Lismore Base Hospital over the past five years.

The notorious ‘date-rape’ drug Rohypnol, or flunitrazepam, was also reported missing, according to new data from NSW Health.

There have been 19 cases of lost or stolen medicine from Lismore between 2003 and 2008.

The North Coast Area Health Service would not release details on the quantities.

More than 150 hospitals reported missing medicines in the past five years, but Lismore has one of the worst records.

Only six other hospitals – five in Sydney and one in Newcastle – reported more incidents than Lismore.

Christian Gruft, from The Buttery rehabilitation centre, said the medicines would probably end up on the ‘regular drug market’ or used by addicts.

“The hospital has an adequate security system. They do their best to stop it from happening,” he said.

“But the people who want these drugs will find a way to get them.”

Lismore Base Hospital reported four incidents of lost or stolen morphine, a powerful pain relief drug,
and four cases of lost or stolen oxycodone, which is used to treat severe pain and can be habit-forming.

Methadone, often used to treat heroin addicts, also went missing.

Assorted benzodiazepines, which are tranquilisers prescribed to people with sleep or anxiety problems, were lost or stolen from the hospital in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Kentamine, also known as Special K, was on the list of missing drugs. It can cause hallucinations.

A spokeswoman from North Coast Area Health Service said it was a concern when any medicines went missing.

“The medications are potentially dangerous if administered for reasons other than appropriate medical treatment,” she said.

“Whilst any medication incident is regrettable, the number for Lismore Base Hospital per year in a hospital administering many thousands of doses of drugs each year is considered very low.” 



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