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Obtaining Controlled Substance Licenses

  1. Both an Illinois and a Federal controlled substance license are required to purchase and handle controlled substances. 
  2. The State of Illinois only accepts paper applications by mail and requires payment by check
  3. The Federal application can be completed online and requires a credit card.

Researcher Licenses


  1. Go to the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations Controlled Substance
  2. Select 097 Other Controlled Substances Licenses
  3. Complete the application:
    - A PDF typing tool is recommended to complete the application. The document is not a fillable PDF but handwritten applications are prone to transcription errors which require corrections and delay licensing. 
    - Note: Sections not referenced below are not applicable to a researcher license.
    1. Section 1 – Check 097 Research/Teaching.
    2. Section 2 – Check $50 New (any/all schedules)
    3. Section 3 – Check University
    4. Section 5 – Enter: Northwestern University
    5. Section 7 – Enter: 36-2167817 (this is NU’s FEIN number)
    6. Section 8 – Principal investigator’s e-mail address
    7. Section 9 – This should be the Principal Investigator (PI) for your laboratory.
    8. Section 10a-f – Fill in PI’s information.
    9. Section 11 – This must be the address where the drugs are stored (including room number).
      For example:
      Northwestern University
      Department of Molecular Psychology
      Tarry 14-617
      300 E Superior St.
      Chicago, IL 60611
    10. Section 12 – Fill in City, State, Zip Code and County.
    11. Section 13 – Fill in PI’s phone number.
    12. Section 14 – Respond No to both questions unless you already hold another type of controlled substance license (e.g., practitioner in another state.)
    13. Section 15 – Check the schedules of drugs you will use and list the specific drugs for each schedule. Find an alphabetical list of controlled substances with information on schedules here.
      Please note that the State Compliance Inspector will ask to see your animal protocols to verify that you are approved to use the drugs.
    14. Section 16 – Provide name of the source of controlled substances.
      For example:
      Sigma Aldrich
      3050 Spruce Street
      Saint Louis, MO 63103
    15. Sections 17-19 – Provide requested information. I recommend attaching an additional page (as they suggest).  This can also be done for Section 16.  Just indicate “See attached” in these sections on the form if you do use an additional page. 
      We recommend that you list only permanent laboratory personnel (lab manager, technicians, +/_ post-docs) and not students in these sections.
    16. Sections 21 &22 – Respond to questions.
    17. Sign the form.
    • MAKE A COPY OF THE APPLICATION to keep on file in case the application is not received by the Division of Professional Regulations.
    • Submit the application with a check for $50 to:
      Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
      ATTN: Division of Professional Regulation
      P.O. Box 7007
      Springfield, Illinois 62791
    • SEND THE APPLICATION by certified mail/return receipt or other mechanism where you can verify that the state has received the application.
    • It can take up to 6 months for the state to process a researcher license and for the compliance inspector to contact you. If you don’t hear from the state after 6-8 weeks, you may want to call and check on the status of your application. 
      The Illinois Department of Professional Regulations can be contacted at 217-785-0820
      Toll Free: 1-888-4REGUL8 (1-888-473-4858)
    • Before a license is issued, a Drug Compliance Investigator from the state will contact you to schedule a visit to your laboratory. Prior to the visit they may request that you submit additional information about drug storage, security, etc. 
    • If there are errors on the license when you receive it, you must return the license to the IDPR (same address above) with a cover letter requesting corrections.


  1. After you receive your Illinois License (and everything is correct), go to DEA registration page and select New Registration.
  2. Scroll down to “Select Your Business Category” and select Researcher (under Form 225).
  3. Under “Select One Business Activity”, select the appropriate category.
  4. Click the Continue button. You will need a credit card to complete the DEA registration process.
  5. Important notes for completing the DEA registration:
    a.  The “Additional Company Information” should match the “Name of Business” from the state license application.
    b. The Business Address must match the address on the State License.
    c. You can provide a “contact name” on the application. This is useful if the PI is frequently unavailable and someone else in the lab will serve as their agent. 
    d. The Drug Schedules on the DEA application must match the schedules on the state license.
  6. The DEA typically issues the Federal license in 7-10 business days but may also conduct a site visit and review the procedures for recordkeeping and drug disposal prior to issuing a license.
  7. If you provided an e-mail address on the application, you may receive a notice that it is approved. If there are problems with the application, the DEA will call or e-mail.