The Drug Enforcement Administration has increased controls on iodine, effective Aug. 1, in an effort to prevent drug traffickers from diverting the chemical for methamphetamine production.
The number of illicit methamphetamine laboratories in the United States that law enforcement found to be using iodine rose steadily from 2,243 in 1999 to 4,904 in 2003, according to the DEA's El Paso Intelligence Center.
The DEA has moved iodine from designation as a list 2 chemical to designation as a list 1 chemical and will now regulate transactions of any amount of a product containing greater than 2.2 percent iodine. The rules, therefore, control strong iodine tinctures and solutions—such as 7 percent iodine—that don't have common household uses but do have applications as antiseptics and disinfectants.
Veterinarians who already have registered to handle controlled substances do not need to register to handle such iodine products. Anyone who conducts transactions of these iodine products, however, must maintain records of the transactions for two years. Anyone handling these iodine products must report suspicious transactions and provide effective security. Also, premises where people handle controlled substances are subject to inspection.
The final rule appeared in the July 2 Federal Register, online at www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/. More details about record-keeping requirements are available by visiting www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov, clicking on Chemicals, and then clicking on Chemical Handler's Manual.
Additional information is available by contacting Christine A. Sannerud, PhD, Chief, Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section, Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington, DC 20537; phone, (202) 307-7183.