Medication Administration

The doctor should ensure that clear and detailed instructions regarding any medication to be administered while the detainee is in police custody (including the dose, times of administration, and special instructions) are given to custodians, with confirmation that these instructions are understood (9). A sufficient quantity of medication should be prescribed to cover the time in detention. The medication should be given to the police in appropriately labeled individual containers or sachets; alternatively, medication may be prescribed and collected from the local pharmacist.

It is most important that there is a safe regimen for medication administration to detainees. Records should be kept showing that the prescribed medication is given at the correct time and that any unused medicines are accounted for. Medication should be stored in a locked cupboard. Ideally, police personnel should ensure that when administering medication they are accompanied by another person as a witness, and the detainee should be observed taking the medication to prevent hoarding.

If detainees are arrested with medications on their persons, medical advice should be sought regarding whether they should be allowed to self-administer them. It may be prudent for a physical assessment to be performed either in the custody suite or in the local hospital before self-administration of medications.

Medication brought with the prisoner or collected from the home address should be checked to ensure that it has the correct name and dosage and that the quantity left is consistent with the date of issue. If there is doubt, police personnel should verify with the pharmacist, family doctor, or hospital. If the medicine is unlabeled, it is preferable to issue a new prescription, especially with liquid preparations, such as methadone.

Table S Common Medical Problems

Epilepsy Diabetes

Self-harm Alcohol

Sickle cell disease Infectious diseases

Asthma Heart disease Injuries Mental health Claustrophobia Drugs

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