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In the Media

article imageReport: US Dept of Energy lab missing cocaine, amphetamines

Washington - The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California has maintained shoddy records of controlled substances including cocaine, opium, black tar heroin and amphetamines, a new Inspector General report reveals.
The DoE’s Inspector General report, Management of Controlled Substances at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (pdf), noted LLNL maintains 42 controlled substances as well as maintaining and dispensing other therapeutic controlled substances.
According to the report, the Inspector General
initiated this inspection to determine whether Livermore was appropriately managing controlled substances to prevent misuse or misappropriation.
Inappropriate records of inventory and account activity have been cited as causes for the missing drugs. Among the drugs found to be showing a discrepancy in LLNL’s inventory were cocaine hydrochloride, opium, black tar heroin, and an amphetamine called 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA).
The report notes typical inventories of controlled substances will show a “Beginning Balance” in measurable quantities, such as grams. In one instance, cocaine hydrochloride’s beginning balance was shown as “1 bottle” without reference as to how many grams were in the bottle.
In another instance, the report notes an annual inventory conducted in 2004 showed 96 milligrams of MDA on hand. In 2007, the MDA inventory had decreased to 58 milligrams and the 2008 and 2009 inventories showed 5.8 milligrams. There was no documentation available to explain the difference of 90.2 milligrams between 2004 and 2008.
Opium was another drug with noted discrepancies in inventoried amounts. The report noted inventoried amounts of opium showed 0.991 grams on hand, but actual weight revealed 5.17 grams, more than 5 times the stated amount. No records existed showing how or when the additional amounts were acquired.
Likewise, black tar opium was inventoried at 0.0125 grams on hand but there was 0.2442 grams on hand, almost 20 times the amount shown. The report stated
In both of these cases, Livermore was in possession of additional quantities of high risk controlled substances without any documentation showing that they existed.
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is in charge of LLNL operations and NNSA officials have agreed with the Inspector General’s recommendation of the need for a stringent system to properly manage inventory of the lab’s controlled substances.
According to the report, the Office of Inspector General found LLNL failed to accurately account for quantities received, used, distributed or on hand for at least 6 of 33 controlled substances in its Analytical Lab.
Results of the report found the lab's records were incomplete on quantities received, distributed or on hand for several of the controlled substances reviewed.
While the report found no evidence of misuse or misappropriation of the missing drugs, it noted that
failing to accurately account for quantities received, used, distributed and on hand could create an opportunity for improper or illegal use.
According to the Associated Press, the report notes workers are required by federal law to closely monitor use of these controlled substances and failure to do so can include fines up to $10,000 per infraction.
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is in charge of LLNL operations and NNSA officials have agreed with the Inspector General’s recommendation of the need for a stringent system to properly manage inventory of the lab’s controlled substances.
article:303779:8::0
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