Controlled Substance FAQs - Purchasing Controlled Substances

How do I order controlled substances? 

PIs with a ‘Researcher’ license or their authorized agents must determine the need for the controlled substances and sign all requisitions for controlled substances, regardless of dollar value.  Manufacturers, suppliers or distributors such as Sigma-Aldrich require that all purchase orders for schedule I and schedule II substances be submitted using a DEA form 222.

I am attempting to order antibiotics from a distributor, but they need a “verification documentation” to prove that I am authorized to receive the drugs. How do I obtain this verification documentation?

Controlled substances distributors can be a chemical supplier, pharmaceutical vendor, or drug manufacturer.  Licensed researchers must work directly with the distributor and provide the necessary information to establish that s/he is indeed authorized to receive controlled substances or drugs and that the research activities are within the scope of a DEA approved research protocol. A licensed distributor must exercise due diligence and obtain verification documentation from licensed researchers to ensure controlled substances are shipped only to individuals authorized for such access by the licensed researcher.

Do I need to submit all orders for controlled substances via mail?

Please check with your distributor.  For ordering schedule I and schedule II controlled substances, a copy of the licensed researcher’s DEA number and her/his registration must be submitted using a signed DEA form 222.  DEA forms 222 are provided to the individual licensed researchers by DEA upon an online request.  An example of a properly completed DEA form 222 can be accessed from the University of Michigan EHS website. Purchase orders for schedule III-V drugs should be placed by providing a copy of the investigator’s DEA registration to the distributor.

A controlled substance is backordered by Sigma-Aldrich and my current supply will not be sufficient for my ongoing studies.  What should I do?

Proper attention to the inventory of controlled substances in a laboratory should typically prevent shortages from occurring.  If a controlled substance is backordered at Sigma-Aldrich, for example, the licensed researcher or an Authorized Agent of the licensed researcher should contact the DEA to obtain permission to order the controlled substance from an alternate distributor.  Be aware that borrowing a controlled substance from other licensed researchers is against DEA regulations.

Can you provide names and addresses of controlled substance sources for purchase?

The distributor list can be downloaded from the DEA website. The brief list below is provided as an example for planning purposes only.

  • Burns Veterinary Supply - 3400 West Lake Ave. Glenview IL 60025 Ph. 800-922-8767
  • Fort Dodge Laboratories - 800 5th St. NW, Fort Dodge, IA 50501-0518 Ph. 800-685-5656
  • JA Webster - 86 Leominster Rd. Sterling, MA 01564-2198 Ph. 800-225-7911
  • Vortech Pharmaceutical - 6851 Chase Rd. Dearborn, MI 48126 Ph. 800-521-4686
  • Butler Schein, Inc. - 135 Duryea Rd. Melville, NY 11747 Ph. 800-483-8329
  • Bulter Schein, Inc. - 3820 Twin Creeks Dr. Columbus, OH 43204 Ph. 800-522-8387
  • Sigma-Aldrich, Inc. - 3050 Spruce St. St. Louis, MO 63103 Ph. 800-325-3010
  • Diamondback Drugs - 7901 East McDowell Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85257 Ph. 866-578-4220

Can I transfer controlled substances to another authorized PI at the UI?

Yes, but only after receiving approval from the DEA and only if the following criteria are met: (1) the authorized PI who is to receive the substance(s) must first receive DEA approval for the transfer, and (2) both parties maintain proper documentation for any approved transfers. The transfer process is very similar to the purchase of controlled substances from an authorized distributor.

Can I transfer controlled substances to another individual at another University or institution? 

No. Such transfers are not allowed under any circumstances.  Controlled substances procured under a specific research investigator’s DEA registration cannot be transferred to another individual who is not registered with DEA.  A better way for such transfers is via reverse distributors who ensure the proper paperwork and documentation for physical transfers.

What special procedures are required to purchase class 2 DEA controlled substances?

Class 2 DEA controlled substances are the same as schedule II controlled substances (class 2 = schedule II). To purchase schedule II controlled substances, the DEA registration holder must provide original copies of a DEA form with the order, which requires that all purchase orders that list schedule II controlled substances must be mailed (not faxed) to the supplier.  Instructions for ordering DEA form 222 can be found here.  An example of a properly completed DEA form 222 can be accessed via the University of Michigan’s EHS website.