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Controlled Substances: Storage Requirements

Learn about requirements for storage of controlled substances (CS) at UC San Diego.

Principal investigators are responsible for providing and maintaining secure CS storage.

Notify the CSP immediately of missing CS: (858) 534-1362 or (858) 534-9016. 

Approval to store inventory

Before purchasing or installing a storage container for CS inventory, contact the Controlled Substances Program (CSP), (858) 534-1362 or (858) 534-9016, to develop an approved storage plan. 

Your new CS storage site or changed existing site must be approved by the CSP before it can be used to store CS inventory.

Storage requirements

CS and CS dilutions must be stored in the approved and locked CS storage area at all times when not in use. Do not leave CS or CS dilutions unattended at any time.

Store CS according to schedule number (minimal requirements):

  • Schedule I: Store in a securely locked and substantially constructed cabinet, safe, or steel cabinet. The local DEA office will conduct a site visit to review all new proposals and changes to existing Schedule I storage areas.
  • Schedule II-V, List I, and CA Precursors: Store in a safe, secured lock box, locked drawer or cabinet that is inaccessible from above or below.
  • Carfentanil, etorphine hydrochloride, and diprenorphine: Store in a safe or steel cabinet equivalent to a U.S. Government Class V security container.

Install the following equipment according to these standards:

  • Padlocks and hasps:
    • Mounting screws or bolts of the hasp must be inaccessible when the drawer is closed and the lock is fastened.
  • Safes and steel cabinet equivalents:
    • Must be affixed, cemented or bolted to the floor, wall, benchtop or another immovable laboratory fixture, or weigh enough to deter theft of entire safe/steel cabinet.  
  • Storage units:
    • Must be secure enough to show forced entry.
  • Drawers:
    • Must be inaccessible from the upper or lower drawers in the stack.
    • Assign the top drawer of the stack to use as the storage facility if possible.
    • Cabinetry encasing the drawer must be securely adhered to a wall or floor or independently weigh enough to deter theft of cabinetry itself. 
    • Must be secure enough to show forced entry.

Storage restrictions

  • Do not share CS storage facilities with other labs or unauthorized personnel.
  • Use CS storage areas only for CS inventory and CS Usage Log Book(s).
  • Do not transfer CS from its original container for storage purposes.
  • Do not store other chemicals or supplies in the approved CS storage unit.
  • Do not store CS in a corridor.

Access restrictions

Follow these precautions:

  • Restrict access exclusively to approved Authorized Personnel listed on your Controlled Substances Use Authorization (CSUA).
  • Plan to allow access to locked storage area in case of unannounced inspection/audit during normal business hours. This may involve more than one lab member having access to the CS storage area to ensure personnel availability during potential audits. The CSP recommends using resettable combination locks instead of key locks to facilitate access by the Controlled Substances Program (CSP) in the event that no personnel are available on site during a surprise DEA inspection. 
  • Keep lock combinations and/or storage key(s) in the physical custody of Authorized Personnel at all times.
    • You can make multiple key copies and assign them to CSUA-listed Authorized Personnel.
  • Do not store keys in an unlocked drawer or hanging unlocked on the wall.
  • When Authorized Personnel leave their position in the lab:

Amend your CSUA if storage changes

Amend your CSUA prior to changing your CS storage in any way:

  1. Go to the CSUA application and login with Single Sign On.
  2. Under the My CSUA tab, go to My CSUA List
  3. Select the appropriate CSUA, and click the View/Amend CSUA button.
  4. Using the navigation on the left side of the screen, click on ‘4-CS Storage Site’.
  5. Use the bottom of the screen to select a Storage Type and Building/Location.
  6. Click on the Add to CS Storage Location List button and then click the Save button.
  7. Contact the CSP to set up an appointment for visiting the new storage site/space. All storage sites added to the CSUA must be approved by the CSP prior to use.

Get approval to store inventory

Changes (repairs, modifications, or moves) to your CS storage site or installation must be approved by the CSP before it can be used to store CS inventory.

Inventory can be temporarily stored at a secure CSP facility during storage site repairs, modifications, or moves.

For more information, contact the Controlled Substances Program, (858) 534-1362 or (858) 534-9016.
Notice: Disposal of hazardous waste using sinks, intentional evaporation, or as regular trash is against the law. Campus laboratories must abide by strict state and federal waste disposal requirements. You may be held liable for violations of applicable laws.