What are Controlled Substances?

Controlled substances are drugs or chemicals whose manufacture, possession, and use are regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). At UC Riverside, controlled substances (CS) include all DEA-scheduled substances, DEA List 1 chemicals, and California Precursor Chemicals. Environmental Health & Safety is the Administrator for the Controlled Substance Program at UC Riverside.

For more information contact Controlled Substances or call (951) 827-5528.

Principal investigators (PIs) must obtain a Controlled Substances Use Authorization (CSUA) to possess and use controlled substances. Controlled substances may be used on campus for the purposes of research, teaching, veterinary care, or clinical trial.

Controlled Substances Use Authorization (CSUA) Application
Submit to:
Purpose: Apply for new research projects at the University of California Riverside. Also used to renew or update existing CSUAs (Authorized Personnel or Storage Locations).

A completed application is required for any of the following activities:

Use: Apply for a new, or renew an existing CSUA
Users: Add or delete authorized personnel
Location: Add or delete or move storage locations (rooms or security measures)

After receipt of a CSUA application, EH&S will schedule a site visit with the Principal Investigator (PI) to ensure all storage guidelines and security controls have been met. Upon approval of a CSUA, an email notification will be sent to the PI. A CSUA is valid for 3 years, and must be renewed thereafter.

Personnel Screening Data Sheet

PI Personnel Screening Data Sheet

Submit to :
Purpose: Obtain approval for each individual listed on the CSUA

California law, pursuant to Health & Safety Code Sections §11480 & §11481, requires proposed research projects using certain opioid, stimulant, and hallucinogenic drugs classified as Schedule I and Schedule II Controlled Substances as their main study drug(s), to be reviewed and authorized by the Research Advisory Panel of California in the Attorney General's Office.

State of California Registration (if applicable)

Submit to: Research Advisory Panel of California (RAPC)
Purpose: Apply for new, or existing research project in the State of California involving Schedule I (non-human), Schedule I or II (human), or research in the treatment of substance abuse.

If a chemical you require for research is classified as a controlled substance, you must apply for a Controlled Substance Use Authorization (CSUA) before work can begin. At UCR, DEA Controlled Substances, DEA List I Chemicals, and California Precursor Chemicals are all treated as controlled substances.

DEA Controlled Substances Schedule
A CSUA is required for any chemical listed in the Controlled Substances Schedule. Note the Controlled Substance Schedule Number ("CSA Sch") and DEA Number for the chemical you require. Controlled Substances: Psychotropic drugs and precursors regulated under the Federal Controlled Substances Act and the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

DEA List I Chemicals
Listed chemicals are regulated in order to prevent the illicit manufacture of controlled substances.  CSUA is required for List I chemicals only. List II chemicals have controls that are subject to high threshold amounts which generally don't apply to normal campus users.

Precursor Chemicals
CSUA is required for all precursor chemicals identified by the State of California Department of Justice as Precursor Chemicals. Precursor chemicals: Compounds that are required in the synthetic or extraction processes of drug production, and become incorporated into the drug molecule. Not used in the production of cocaine or heroin. The California Department of Justice considers these substances able to produce controlled substances.

Controlled Substances eCourse
Length: 40 minutes
Submit to: Environmental Health & Safety
Purpose: Complete training in Controlled Substances for each individual listed on the CSUA
Frequency: every 3 years

Ordering Controlled Substances

The ordering of Controlled Substances (CS) is strictly regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the California Department of Justice (DOJ), UC Policy BUS 50, and UCR Policy 850-35. The flowchart is designed to help both you and UCR comply with these laws. Failure to comply can result in the DEA revoking your department’s DEA registration.

  1. Confirm that you have a valid Controlled Substance Use Authorization (CSUA) for the drugs and quantity required. If not, contact to start the process of amending your CSUA.
  2. Contact your departmental transactor to create a Purchase Request for the material. It is important that DAPO orders are not used for Controlled Substances purchases. All controlled substances must be ordered separately from other items. Schedule III, IV, and V substances may be included on a single requisition.
  3. After the Purchase Request is created, have your departmental transactor check the order out to the Controlled Substance Coordinator to confirm that you have a valid CSUA for the material being purchased.
  4. When approved by Controlled Substance Coordinator, the order will be sent to Procurement for final processing. Procurement will notify campus receiving that a controlled substance order is on the way and will send any relevant tracking information. It is important that Receiving has tracking information so the order can be separated from the normal mail when it arrives.
  5. After controlled substance materials arrive on campus, Receiving will start the chain of custody for the package and notify EH&S.
  6. An EH&S representative will pick up the package from Receiving and verify the contents.
  7. EH&S will secure the package in a safe and create use logs and additional chain of custody forms. EH&S will, then, notify the lab that it is ready for pickup. EH&S does not deliver controlled substance orders. Only Authorized Personnel can pick up controlled substance orders during scheduled time. A valid photo ID is required.

Plan Ahead

Controlled substances are obtained from suppliers and there is no on-site stock. Plan to order quantities sufficient for a 3-6 month period to minimize expired waste and risk of theft. Allow time for delivery:

Schedule II: 3 weeks
Schedule III, IV, and V: 10 days
Listed Chemicals: 20 days
Precursor Chemicals: 30 days (California Department of Justice places a mandatory 21 day waiting period on all California Precursor orders)
*Timeframe may be impacted depending on whether the hazard class of these chemicals requires shipment by ground transportation.

Environmental Health & Safety will conduct annual audits of controlled substances inventories. Ensure that your use logs and biennial inventory forms are stored in the Use Log binder. Federal DEA regulations prohibit shipping controlled substances to other institutions or facilities in most cases. For exceptions, such as chemically inactivated controlled substances, contact Environmental Health & Safety or (951) 827-5528.

Find out how to maintain an accurate inventory of controlled substances. Learn about ordering and managing controlled substances inventory, and maintaining a use log binder.

Keep a Use Log Binder

Use Logs

Biennial Inventory Requirement

2023 Biennial Inventory Day: April 13, 2023

Click here for 2023 Biennial Inventory form.

Click here for sample form.

The University and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requires an inventory be conducted and documented every 2 years. Principal Investigators (PIs) must declare their inventory status even if there is zero controlled substances in stock when biennial inventory is taken. Environmental Health & Safety will notify the PI and lab contact(s) by email with a specific date and instructions in advance when the biennial inventory is due. NOTE: If the biennial inventory is not received after 3 attempts, the Controlled Substance Use Authorization (CSUA) will be suspended and Material Management notified to stop any orders for controlled substances.

Document the biennial inventory with the Biennial Inventory Form. Make sure to keep a copy of the completed form in your use log binder.

Deactivated CSUAs

If you no longer need controlled substances, submit an email to and include the date that you wish to delete or deactivate a previously approved CSUA. There can be no remaining items in inventory when a CSUA is deleted.

When is disposal required?

Request controlled substances disposal when:

  • Research project closes, or is terminated, and a controlled substance is still in supply
  • CSUA expires and a renewal has not been submitted
  • Principal Investigator determines a controlled substance is no longer required
  • Principal Investigator terminates employment
  • Controlled substance expires
Are there any exceptions to this process?

Pharmaceuticals - To dispose of pharmaceuticals that aren't controlled substances, dispose of it as hazardous waste with Environmental Health & Safety using the WASTe Program.

Empty containers - Empty controlled substances bottles do not have to be collected by Environmental Health & Safety. You can dispose of empty containers in the regular trash by defacing the label.

To Request Disposal

Contact to request to pick up unused controlled substances.

If there is suspected theft or significant loss of controlled substances, List I chemicals, or Precursors you must immediately notify:

Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S)
(951) 827-5528

University of California Police Department (UCPD)
(951) 827-5222 

In response, EH&S will report to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) within 24 hours (21 CFR §1301.91) using DEA Form 106. UCPD will file a police report to document the theft or loss. Reports will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law and other University policies.