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Requirements for Controlled Drugs and Drug Precursors for Research Purposes

Category 1 Drug Precursors and Schedule 1 Controlled Drugs are Controlled Substances which require formal licences from the Home Office, and, as such, are subject to strict controls to prevent their illicit use.

It is illegal to hold, procure, produce, use, distribute or carry out reasearch with such substances without a Home Office licence.

Further information on the University's policy, management arrangements and the detailed requirements placed on departments is contained in the SOP entitled 'Control of Drugs and Drug Precursors for research purposes'(PDF Document).

Prior to Procurement

Principal Investigators must submit a ‘ Request to Purchase(Word Document) form to the Responsible Officer (Director of Health and Safety) before any Controlled Substance can be acquired, or brought into the University from another institution. The form must be approved by the Head of Department or the Chair of the Department H&S Committee prior to submission to the Responsible Officer and must include the following information:
  • Scientific justification for the use of the substance in a research project
  • Names of any 'authorised users' involved in the research project
  • Departmental security arrangements and control measures, documented in an SOP, covering the safe storage and use of the substances
  • Proposed method of destruction.


When any proposal has been finally approved by the Responsible Officer, a ‘Record of Use(Excel Spreadsheet) sheet will be issued to the Department, who must maintain a record of each and every usage, sending copies of such records to the H&S Department who, in turn need to report usage to the Home Office.

The Principal Investigator (PI) must also:

  • Complete any Customer Declaration documentation required by the supplier
  • Take physical charge of the material upon delivery to University
  • Regularly monitor that the quantity of material held is in agreement with the record sheet
  • Ensure that the destruction of any such Controlled Substances is witnessed by someone authorised by the Responsible Officer.

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Loss of Material

In the event of any theft, or unexplained loss, or other suspicious transaction being identified, the Responsible Officer must be notified immediately.