Controlled Substances in Research

“Penn State policy RP13 governs the use of controlled substances in research. The Office for Research Protections helps investigators and the University maintain compliance with federal regulations and requirements governing the use of controlled substances in research. Our assistance for controlled substances of any Schedule includes:

  • Helping investigators identify requirements for the registration and use of controlled substances
  • Helping investigators maintain compliance with policies the University may issue for controlled substances
  • Monitoring and tracking investigators' Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registrations
  • Notifying investigators about registration expirations
  • With Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), helping faculty and staff identify and dispose of orphaned substances and substances with lapsed or no registrations

The University does not obtain or maintain DEA registration for investigators. Investigators are responsible for obtaining and maintaining registration directly through the DEA.


The disposal costs for controlled substances are paid for by the University, including substances identified in the University-wide initiative. 

For questions about the disposal of orphaned substances or substances without proper registrations, or for help organizing the disposition of unneeded substances with current registrations, please email or call 814-865-6391.

Location Changes

You must contact the DEA if your office/lab location changes, even temporarily. Your address information (located on your DEA registration) needs to be up-to-date with the current University address where you secure and handle the materials.


Useful Forms

Registrants who perform research using controlled substances are required by the DEA to complete an inventory every two years, however, it is recommended to complete one more frequently. See section 1304.11 of the DEA Implementing Regulations for detailed inventory requirements. The Controlled Substances Receipt Log can be used to track substances as they are acquired, and the Inventory Form can be used to keep track of quantities of substances on hand as they are used. All forms are linked below:

DEA Information

All persons ordering, storing or using controlled substances must be registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Visit the following DEA webpages for more information:


For general questions about use of controlled substances in research, please contact Clint Schmidt by email at 814-865-5437.