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Some substances used in biomedical and other scientific research are controlled under federal and state laws and regulations. Northwestern University requires compliance with all applicable federal and state requirements regarding the use of controlled substances in performing research, including the federal Controlled Substances Act (21 Chapter 13, Sec. 801 et seq.), and its implementing regulations (21 CFR 1300-1399) and the State of Illinois Controlled Substances Act (720 ILCS 570), and its implementing regulations (Ill. Admin. Code tit. 77, § 3100 et seq.).

The Center for Comparative Medicine holds controlled substance licenses to allow researchers to obtain Schedule II-V controlled substances for use in animal research.  Researchers requiring the use of Schedule I controlled substances or for bench research must obtain their own licenses.