Veterinary drug pentobarbitone stolen in Palmerston North

Published on 11 November 2022

Police are investigating the theft of a powerful veterinary drug, pentobarbitone, which was stolen from a vehicle in Palmerston North on 3 November 2022.

Pentobarbitone, also known as pentobarbital, is used to euthanise animals. It is considered a high-risk drug and could be life-threatening to both people and animals if consumed.

Although it is not clear how the offender(s) gained access to the pentobarbitone, this is a timely reminder for veterinarians to ensure any controlled drugs they are transporting are secured properly.

The Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinarians states:

Veterinarians who carry controlled drugs in their vehicles for use at work must comply with the statutory requirements. Those controlled drugs not required for immediate use must be stored in a locked metal compartment securely fixed to the vehicle. If the vehicle is left unattended the veterinarian must take all reasonable steps to secure the vehicle against unlawful entry. A locked vehicle boot, locked ute service box, locked cabinet within the service box or locked glove box currently meet these requirements.

When controlled drugs are stored in vehicles, veterinarians must:

  1. only carry the smallest quantities of the drugs
  2. not keep the key to the compartment in the vehicle when the vehicle is unattended
  3. lock the drugs in the cabinet if they are in the vehicle overnight
  4. try to park the vehicle in a locked garage or secure area overnight, or consider removing the drugs if the parking area is not secure.