Controlled substance registration fee hike proposed

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The Drug Enforcement Administration is proposing to increase the current fee schedule for controlled substances registration so that it can collect enough money to run the Diversion Control Program as mandated by the departments of Commerce, Justice, and State; the Judiciary; and the Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 1993. Those who wish to comment on the proposed rule must do so by April 21, 2003.

The notice was published in the Feb. 18, 2003, Federal Register,

The DEA is proposing to increase the annual costs from $875 to $1,605 for manufacturers; from $438 to $804 for distributors, importers, and exporters; from $70 to $131 for dispensers and practitioners; and from $70 to $131 for researchers and narcotic treatment programs. These increases will go into effect 30 days after the publication of the final rule.

By law, the DEA must collect fees to recover the costs of operating the Diversion Control Program, including salaries and expenses for diversion investigators, analysts, technicians, and clerical personnel; and travel, rent, utilities, supplies, equipment, and services associated with these positions for the registration and control of the manufacture, distribution, and dispensing of controlled substances.

To cover these costs, the DEA collects money from a variety of activities involving controlled substance distribution such as scheduling and registration. The agency also collects money from cooperative efforts with state, local, and other federal agencies; cooperative efforts with the regulated industry; international activities relating to the manufacture, distribution, and dispensing of controlled substances; and attendant management, personnel, administrative, and clerical oversight for the DCP.

The last time the DEA changed the fee schedule was 1993. Currently, however, officials at the Diversion Control Program say the budget has doubled without any associated increase in registration fees. The budget's growth can be attributed to several factors, including the creation of the Tactical Diversion Squads, the need to respond to the diversion of oxycodone, and the need to respond to Internet-based drug diversion. The DEA says it has also seen an increase in the number of drug diversion cases leading to arrests. All these activities have required additional investigators and headquarters staff.

Submit comments regarding the rule to the Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington, D.C. 20537; Attention: DEA Federal Register Representative/CCR.

For further information, contact Patricia M. Good, Chief, Liaison and Policy Section, Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington, D.C. 20537.