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Scheduled Drugs

March 2010


The Controlled Substances Act, adopted in 1970 by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), regulates the manufacturing and distribution of narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids, and other drugs. The act aims to eliminate or reduce the amount of legally manufactured substances that enter the illicit drug traffic. All substances fall into one of five categories called schedules. These schedules are ranked from I to V, with I being the most dangerous and addictive drugs and V being the least dangerous and addictive. To find out which schedule a drug is listed under check the Controlled Substances List. Another category, Schedule VI, is over the counter drugs and is not covered by this act. Please call the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) for proper disposal of Schedule VI drugs. The following will provide you with information on the proper disposal of controlled substances, reverse distribution vendors, along with storage and security procedures.

All DEA controlled substances must be kept under lock and key and separate from all other drugs and chemicals. Inventory records must be maintained to ensure proper distribution for use as well as monitor expiration dates. The number of authorized personnel allowed access to the substances should be kept to a minimum for security precautions.

The DEA strictly regulates the disposal of all controlled substances. There are two DEA approved methods of destroying the scheduled drugs.

The DEA allows controlled substances to be burned in an approved incinerator. This method requires that the registrant, a federal official, and a local law enforcement official to be witnesses to the destruction of the substance. At this time there are no local approved incinerators for this disposal method.

This option gives the registrant the opportunity to send the controlled substance to a DEA-approved Reverse Distribution vendor where the waste can be disposed of, re-used, or re-sold. The registrant must complete either DEA Form 222 (for Schedule I and II drugs) or DEA Form 41 (for Schedule III, IV, and V drugs) during the transfer process. The form must be filled out entirely; this includes the original registration information for each DEA controlled substance. DEA Form 222 can be obtained by contacting the vendor. Copies of the form must be maintained for 2 years and on file at the laboratory. Below are a few DEA approved return vendors that you can send your controlled substances to be processed. Environmental Health and Safety currently has an account with Capital Returns.

Capital Returns 4066 N. Port Washington Road Milwaukee, WI 53212 800-950-5479

EXP Pharmaceutical Services Corp. 48021 Warm Springs Blvd. Fremont, California 94539 (800) 350-0397

Guaranteed Returns 140 N. Belle Mead Road Unit 3 E. Setauket, NY 11733 1-800-473-2138

Med-Turn, Inc. 17406 Tiller Court, #1800 Westfield, Indiana 46074 (800) 488-5735

National Pharmaceutical Returns, Inc. 4164 NW Urbandale Drive Des Moines, Iowa 50322 (800) 470-7725

Universal Solutions International, Inc. 4045 University Parkway Winston-Salem, NC 27106 (336) 896-7900

Disposal Procedures. The proper disposal of scheduled drugs is the responsibility of each registered department. EHS can assist with the disposal of your scheduled drugs. The following is required in order to arrange disposal through EHS:

  • Your department must have a letter on file with EHS designating us responsible for the disposal of your schedule drugs.
  • You must fill out DEA Form – 41 with an inventory of your schedule drugs requiring disposal, your DEA registration number and the signature of the principal investigatory requesting the disposal. This must then be sent to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety,320 Renaissance Park. EHS will then arrange to pick up your schedule drugs.

QUESTIONS. If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Room 320 Renaissance Park at x2769.

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