There is no doubt that we live in an ever-changing world, and 2020 has brought this even more into the forefront. From the way we perform daily life, shop for groceries, access our favorite entertainment, to how we conduct business, our processes are constantly evolving. This continual improvement is not exclusive to one life area or profession, and change is no mystery to the emergency medicine world as our first responders are at the forefront of this with the ever-evolving requirements and regulations for tracking controlled substances.

While many of these requirements are meant to benefit and help protect our first responders, logging transactions in bulky logbooks, deciphering signatures and storing these logs for years on end can create extensive work for all parties involved. The amount of work such documentation practices have created makes this process primed for change.

A New, Easier Way

The birth of electronic controlled substance tracking solutions is something that was long overdue. Not only do these solutions save time, they help to mitigate diversion and simplify the entire process. It also allows administrative users the ability to run reports, track trends and produce vital documentation in seconds without the hassle of rifling through years of paper logs. If your organization is ready to make the change to electronic tracking for controlled substances, Operative IQ’s industry leading solution can help make the transition seamless and easy for everyone.

Taking the First Step

The initial step in simplifying your narcotics tracking is the actual, physical labeling of the narcotics. The label not only helps the crew identify the narcotic in the field, it contains the unique control number used to identify the vial’s dosage, expiration date, status, lot number and chain-of-custody transaction history.

Customizing Narcotics Tracking to Fit Your Operation

There is not a one-size fits all when it comes to labeling the vials, and many agencies approach this step differently. While there are many options at your disposal, a few choices used by current customers are highlighted below.

Zebra Labels

Shaun Curtis from MedStar Mobile Healthcare as well as Matt Neilson from St. Lucie County Fire District say that they use multi colors of zebra labels to label the different narcotics their agency carries. This color-coding system helps the crew more easily identify vials in the field which helps eliminate error in the long run. St. Lucie County Fire uses blue labels to identify Ativan, red for Versed, green for Fentanyl, and grey for Ketamine.

Security Seals

Another option for labeling the vial is to apply an additional security seal for added safeguard. Chris Jackson with the City of Orlando Fire Department provided the below picture of their current labeling process.

RFID Tracking

Taking electronic tracking for narcotics a step further, RFID is a great solution that Operative IQ offers which provides automation of narcotics tracking processes, real time monitoring and lightning fast audits of drug boxes in safes.


While the industries challenges and solutions are ever-changing in today’s world, one constant remains the same — the need for a full-proof tracking system for controlled substances that you and your operation are 100% confident in. Designed around the way you work – Operative IQ is here to support your daily operation’s needs and innovative ideas. No two agencies are the same with their challenges, processes, or goals and that is why Operative IQ offers flexible options to help the customer easily take the first step into electronic tracking for narcotics.

Visit the Narcotics Tracking page to learn more.