Previous studies have shown varying rates of discrepancy in drug administration in psychiatric hospitals, and the present survey attempted to elucidate this problem further, using two methods of investigation simultaneously.
Two wards in a psychiatric hospital and one ward in a mental subnormality hospital were studied. Urine specimens were tested for psychotropic drugs, and ward drug rounds were observed to detect discrepancies in administration.
Of the 266 instances of drug administration tested for in urine specimens, prescribed drugs were not detected in 7·9 per cent of cases and non-prescribed drugs were found in another 29 instances. Observation was made of 3,689 instances of drug administration, and in 1·7 per cent of these the drug was not given or taken as prescribed, whereas no instances of ingestion of non-prescribed drugs were observed. The reasons for the discrepancies and the different results obtained by the two methods are discussed.