Frequently Asked Questions

How does the DEA define “non-retrievable” and what does that requirement mean?

The DEA defines “non-retrievable” as “the condition or state to which a controlled substance shall be rendered following a process that permanently alters that controlled substance's physical or chemical condition or state through irreversible means and thereby renders the controlled substance unavailable and unusable for all practical purposes” (21 CFR 1300.05). Put simply, that means that controlled substances must be transformed to a state in which they cannot be diverted for illicit purposes.

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