Memorandum of Understanding on Controlled Substances

The objective of these implementation procedures is to define an institutional policy for the use of controlled items (chemical precursors and certain lab apparatus) on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. These procedures will become effective March 1, 1996.

In October 1995, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board signed an agreement that, in accord with Health and Safety Code, Section 481.0621 (b), establishes procedures for maintaining controlled substances, controlled substance analogues, chemical precursors, and chemical laboratory apparatus used in educational or research activities of institutions of higher education. Full compliance with this memorandum is required. The following is a list of controlled items whose purchase, use, and disposal must be monitored:

Precursor Chemicals
  1. Methylamine
  2. Ethylamine
  3. D-lysergic acid
  4. Ergotamine tartrate
  5. Diethyl malonate
  6. Malonic acid
  7. Ethyl malonate
  8. Barbituric acid
  9. Piperidine
  10. N-acetylanthranilic
  11. Pyrrolidine
  12. Phenylacetic acid
  13. Anthranilic acid
  14. Ephedrine
  15. Pseudoephedrine
  16. Norpseudoephedrine
  17. Phenylpropanolamine

Return to top.

Laboratory Apparatus
  1. Condensers
  2. Distilling apparatus
  3. Vacuum dryers
  4. Three - necked flasks
  5. Distilling flasks
  6. Tableting machines
  7. Encapsulating machines
  8. Filter funnels, buchner funnels, and separatory funnels
  9. Erlenmyer flask, two - necked flasks, single neck flasks,
    round bottom flasks, thermometer flasks, and filtering flasks
  10. Soxhlet extractors
  11. Transformers
  12. Flask heaters
  13. Heating mantle
  14. Adapter tubes
 The MOU, which was signed by the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, commits The University to establish procedures that specify:
  1. personal responsibility for secure use of the controlled items;
  2. record-keeping requirements for purchases;
  3. procedures for disposal of unused controlled items;
  4. security procedures governing use of the controlled items; and
  5. a liaison between The University and DPS. Full text of the MOU is available at the Office of Environmental Health & Safety (471-3511).

Return to top.

Responsible Party

Any person with specific authority to purchase or accept controlled items must bear full responsibility for establishing security measures regarding their purchase, acceptance, use, and ultimate disposal. Thus, if the controlled items are to be used in a research program supervised by an individual faculty member, the principal investigator (PI) must assume full responsibility. If the controlled item is to be used in conjunction with the activities in an Organized Research Unit (ORU) outside the operati on of a specific sponsored project, the Director of the ORU will be responsible. If the controlled items are to be used in a teaching laboratory or in a demonstration for an organized class, the Chair of the department through which the academic course is offered is the responsible party.

Return to top.

Purchase Orders

The Purchasing Office has put in place a report program to identify and capture purchasing information on controlled items. These reports can be obtained on request by any cognizant party or DPS. The identification and flagging of these purchases do not require any additional action by the ordering or user unit. All laboratory and storeroom personnel will be informed when MOU-specific items are received in order to track distribution to the responsible party.

Return to top.

Surplus Properties

The Supervisor of the University's Surplus Properties will inform the Office of Environmental Health & Safety (OEHS) of all auctions at least two week prior to the sale. OEHS will send safety & health re presentatives to the auction area of Surplus Properties in order to identify any items included on the MOU list. These items will be brought to the attention of the Supervisor of Surplus Properties, who will be instructed to sell these items only to individuals having the proper permit or the specific authority to purchase or accept the controlled items. The purchaser will be required to provide to the Supervisor appropriate documentation of the authority to purchase the controlled items (Nar-22 form). This form (available at Surplus Properties) is used to report the sale, transfer, or furnishing of the listed precursor chemicals or lab apparatus.

Return to top.

Security Procedures Governing the Use of Controlled Items

Controlled item security consists of site security, operational security, inventory monitoring, and loss reporting procedures. The responsible individual is required to provide means by which the controlled items can be stored in accordance with recommendations of the manufacturer and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. The storage and handling of controlled items must also adhere to all applicable state and federal laws.

Site Security

The University of Texas Police Department is available to assist in evaluating and making recommendations regarding site security.

  1. Specific locations (e.g., a laboratory or storage area assigned to the responsible party) should be established where controlled items are utilized and or stored.
  2. All doors and windows must be locked when the room containing controlled items is not occupied.
  3. Access to rooms containing controlled items must be restricted to authorized personnel, and key control must be established so that only those authorized can have access to the site.

Operational Security

  1. Procedures must be established by each Responsible Party to assure the proper use of controlled items in laboratories and storerooms.
  2. Authorized personnel must be alert to any unauthorized personnel entering laboratories containing controlled items, and appropriate action must be taken to assure the security of the controlled items when visitors are present.

Inventory and Reporting of Loss

  1. Prudent procedures must be established by each Responsible Party to monitor consumption and use of controlled items.
  2. Authorized personnel must be alert and attentive to the disappearance of any controlled items and to report losses to the UT Police Department immediately (within the next business day) upon the discovery of the loss.

Return to top.

Designation of a University Liaison

The Chief of Police of the University of Texas at Austin Police Department is designated as the liaison between the Department of Public Safety and The University, and the DPS has been so informed.

Return to top.


All administrative personnel responsible for environmental and safety issues at The University of Texas at Austin have been informed about the MOU. These parties include the staffs of the Office of the President, The Executive Vice President and Provost, The Vice President for Research, the Vice President for Business Affairs, and the Office of Environmental Health & Safety.

The Vice President for Research has sent a letter to all Deans, ORU Directors, and Department Chairs regarding the elements of the MOU. The Department Chairs, ORU Directors and PI's have been informed of their ultimate responsibility for adherence with the MOU. This group has been informed about security procedures, including the specific requirement that doors be locked at all times when a room containing controlled items is not occupied. The letter stresses the need for all personnel to be attentive to the disappearance of any controlled items and to report a loss to UT Police Department immediately upon discovery. The letter stipulates that lab personnel be informed, and reminded annually by the Responsible Party, of the potential problem of diversion of laboratory chemicals and apparatus to illegal drug operation.

The Office of Environmental Health & Safety has included articles in its Lab Safety Newsletter (Volume 2, Number 3) outlining the provisions of the MOU. OEHS includes a discussion of the MOU in its Laboratory Safety training classes as well as in its Hazardous Waste Disposal training classes.

Return to top.