The Drug Enforcement Administration requires all entities it has authorized to manufacture or handle controlled substances to inform the agency about any “theft or significant loss of any controlled substance, disposal receptacles or listed chemicals within one business day of discovery of such loss or theft.”

Those reports are collected via the DEA’s Theft Loss Reporting (TLR) system, which allows registrants to submit the following forms electronically:

According to the agency’s filings with Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the DEA receives as many as 37,047 submissions of Form DEA-106 annually, and as many as 3,827 for Form DEA-107.

To our knowledge, the DEA proactively publishes only highly-aggregated information collected through the TLR system. In its 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment report, the DEA notes that more than 6 million dosage units of opioids were reported stolen or lost in 2019 and that two states (Missouri and Arizona) each accounted for more than 2,000 incidents of controlled prescription drugs being lost in transit that year. These figures suggest that the theft and loss of controlled substances and listed chemicals are widespread, and contain important local variations that the DEA’s published reports do not fully capture.

Our FOIA request 📄 to the DEA seeks all database records collected through the TLR system, Form DEA-106, and Form DEA-107 (excluding narrative data fields and data fields that contain personal information about individual persons), plus all relevant database documentation.

The disclosure of these records would allow the public to identify important trends in controlled substance theft/loss that could help identify problems in their communities, as well as to hold the DEA accountable regarding its responsibility “to prevent, detect, and investigate the diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals and listed chemicals from legitimate sources[.]”

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