Skip to main content
Sign In

University of Colorado Denver

Environmental Health and Safety, University of Colorado Denver

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Controlled Substances Management and Disposal

Drug Enforcement Administration logo

This webpage was developed by UCD EHS and is intend​ed to provide general guidance for any researcher on campus whose research involves the use of controlled substances.

Complete details and specific requirements mentioned in this site are explained in detail in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Any further questions about the registration process can be addressed by calling the DEA's Registration Support number (800) 882-9539.

Controlled s​ubstances are any drugs or chemical substances whose possession and use are regulated under the United States Controlled Substances Act. Controlled substances exhibit stimulant, depressive, and/or hallucinogenic effects on individuals who consume them and tend to promote abuse and psychological/physical dependence. For a complete listing of controlled substances visit the DEA web site. Management criteria differ depending on which controlled substances "schedule" the chemical is listed under.

Before any controlled substance can be purchased a researcher, a valid DEA registration number must be obtained from the local DEA office and that number must be subsequently registered with the university's reverse distributor program.

Some states require that you register with them before applying for a controlled substances license through the DEA. Colorado does not require you to register with the state. NOTE: Starting July 1, 2009: Researchers that were previously obtaining their controlled substances from the Vivarium will no longer be able to do so unless they have their own DEA controlled substances registration. For more information on this subject read the document Investigator Use of Controlled Substances in Animal Care and Use Protocols and DEA License Acquisition.

Registration Types

  • Registration Process
  • Security
  • Recordkeeping
  • Abandoned Controlled Substances
  • Disposal
  • Lost or Stolen Controlled Substances

The first step in applying for a DEA registration number is determining what type of registration is needed. The two most common types of registrations used by the UCD research community are "Practitioner" or "Researcher" registration. The Practitioner registration can only be applied for by a physician, is good for three years, and carries with it a larger registration fee. The Researcher registration can be applied for by a non-physician and is good for one year. The fee for a Researcher can be waived when the license is obtained for work at UCD (during online registration you will be asked to provide an institution representative's name for verification of fee waiver. Use your department dean or the vice chancellor for research, who can verify you are an employee of UCD, a state institution). The table below summarizes and compares the two types of registrations.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Registration Process

Business activity Controlled substances DEA application forms Registration period (years) Coincident activities allowed
Practitioner Schedules II-V New
— 224
— 224a
3 May conduct research and instructional activities with those substances granted, except that a mid-level practitioner may conduct such research only to the extent expressly authorized under state statute.  Need to be a registered physician.
Research Schedule I New
— 225
— 225a
1 A researcher may manufacture or import the basic class of substance or substances for which registration was issued, provided that such manufacture or import is set forth in the protocol required in Sec. 1301.18 and to distribute such class to persons registered or authorized to conduct research with such class of substance or registered or authorized to conduct chemical analysis with controlled substances. Need not be a physician.
Research Schedules II-V New
— 225
— 225a
1 May conduct chemical analysis with controlled substances in those schedules for which registration was issued; manufacture such substances if and to the extent that such manufacture is set forth in a statement filed with the application for registration or reregistration and provided that the manufacture is not for the purposes of dosage form development; import such substances for research purposes; distribute such substances to persons registered or authorized to conduct chemical analysis, instructional activities or research with such substances, and to persons exempted from registration pursuant to Sec. 1301.24; and conduct instructional activities with controlled substances. Need not be a physician.

NOTE: For the purpose of applying for a DEA registration, an applicant's legal status (green card, student visa, legal resident, etc.) is not an issue of concern so long as the applicant is able to provide references/past history on any research they have done.

Registration Process
Drug Enforcement Administration
Abandoned Controlled Substances
Lost or Stolen Controlled Substances
Leaving the University
University of Colorado Denver

© The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate. All rights reserved.

All trademarks are registered property of the University. Used by permission only.