Health & Safety Department

Misuse of Drugs Act

The Misuse of Drugs Act is the main piece of legislation covering drugs and their categorisation.

Companies and individuals in England, Wales or Scotland need to apply for Home Office licences if they wish to produce, supply, possess, import or export controlled drugs.

Who needs a licence?

The Home Office drugs licensing unit is the UK's competent authority for the purposes of the United Nations conventions on controlled drugs. They issue licenses for those who work with controlled drugs, including:

  • companies and other organisations that intend to work with controlled drugs and precursor chemicals

If required, each school should apply for a licence individually.

Dispensation for Universities

Licensing: universities

University research departments generally do not require licences to possess and supply drugs in Schedules 2, 3, 4 Part I, 4 Part II and Schedule 5, but they do require licences to produce any of those drugs and to produce, possess and/or supply drugs in Schedule 1.

Home Office website on licensing for controlled drugs

What is a controlled drug?

A list can be downloaded from the Home Office website. This list is periodically updated, therefore please check the website each time you wish to purchase a drug which may be covered by this legislation.

Applying for a domestic licence

Full instructions on how to apply for a licence can be found on the Home Office website. Each School must apply for a licence individually.

Import/export licence

Companies need to complete specific forms to enable them to import or export controlled drugs.

Annual returns

Each licence holder is required to submit an annual return to the Home Office

Licensee compliance statement

All licensees must complete a statement of compliance with The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.

Disposal of a controlled drug

Guidance can be found on the Lab Waste section of the Waste  Department website

Waste Department (Lab Waste)

Precursor licence

Companies who deal in precursor chemicals need to be licensed or registered with the Home Office. Please see the Drug Precursor Chemicals webpage for further details.