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Learn about Massachusetts Controlled Substances Registration (MCSR) for practitioners

Learn more about the MCSR, application requirements, and more.

Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94C, section 7, an MCSR is required to manufacture, distribute, prescribe, dispense, administer or possess a controlled substance. The Drug Control Program furnishes a copy of your registration to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The DEA issues a registration number which must be used on all prescriptions for federally controlled substances (Schedules II-V) and when ordering stock of these medications for immediate treatment. During the period in which you hold only your Massachusetts Controlled Substances Registration, you may conduct approved activities only with Schedule VI controlled substances. You must get both your DEA number and Massachusetts number to conduct approved activities with controlled substances in Schedules II through V.

Why do I need a Massachusetts Controlled Substances Registration?

To provide accountability for controlled substances, Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 94C, section 7 and regulations of the Department of Public Health at 105 CMR 700.004 require every person who manufacturers, distributes, prescribes, administers, dispenses or possesses controlled substances to be registered with both the Department of Public Health and DEA if they utilize controlled Substances in Schedules II-V. Additionally, Massachusetts law recognizes as controlled substances those prescription drugs that are not federally scheduled (Schedule VI). Practitioners who only plan to manufacture, distribute, dispense, prescribe, administer, or possess Schedule VI drugs only need to get a Massachusetts Controlled Substances registration. Well over half of the states in the country require a state controlled substances registration in addition to a DEA registration. In these cases, the DEA will not issue a registration until the practitioner has obtained a valid state controlled substances registration.

What documents must I include with my application?

To ensure that we process your application promptly, you must fill out all questions on the application in their entirety. In addition, you must include the following:

  • A check or money order in the amount of $150 made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • A copy of your current practitioner license. Without this information, we cannot process your application and we will return it to you. The license must bear an expiration date. We also accept a letter from the Board of Registration certifying this license (known as a "verbatim copy").

What address should I include on my application?

  • You must list your Massachusetts business address on the front of the application
    • Once issued, we send the registrations to the place of employment as a way to verify a new registrants business address is their current place of employment. MCSR licenses are site-specific and public information. For those reasons you must provide the address of the location/facility where you will be prescribing, dispensing, storing, ordering, or administering controlled substances. Be sure to include a building number, floor number, and/or room number if possible. MCSR license cards are only mailed to this address. For more information see the hyperlinks below.
  • Use of your home address is not permitted unless you also maintain an office practice at that address
  • The business address must be a street address, not a post office box
  • Please be sure the address is complete
    • For example: for a hospital address, list the department name as well as the name of the hospital and the street address

What constitutes Amended information?

  • Check off amended information for any change to your previously submitted application.
    • Contact Information: To change your contact information with the MCSR program, you must first change your contact information with your licensure Board of Registration. The MCSR contact information reflects the licensure Boards information.
    • Other Information for Individuals: To change information such as business address, supervising physician, and removing drug schedules, click here if you are a physician, dentist, advanced practice nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or CDTM pharmacist. If you are a podiatrist, optometrist, veterinarian, or researcher, click here.
    • Other Information for Facilities: To change information as a facility, click here to view downloadable files for submission.

How many MCSRs do I need?

Most practitioners will need to register only their primary place of business. You only need a second registration if the practitioner stores stock or sample controlled substances at a second location as well. As such, working at more than one address does not necessarily require an additional registration.

Only if you intend to maintain a stock or store controlled substances at your new location will you need an additional MCSR for that location.

If you are only prescribing from this additional location, and you maintain your primary business address, as shown on your registration, you do not need an additional MCSR.

For which drug schedules should I request approval?

Unless there is a restriction on the practitioner license, practitioners may request Schedules II through VI.

MCSR applicants who have been authorized for controlled substances in Schedules II-V must have an individual federal DEA number within 90 days of receiving their MCSR.

If you do not have a DEA number you can apply for your DEA registration online here.

After 90 days, your MCSR will be in jeopardy of being dropped to Schedule VI permissions only. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health will continue to monitor that registrants have an active DEA registration for the same drug schedules.

How do I add or remove drug schedules?

When applying for a Massachusetts Controlled Substance Registration please be aware that most applicants should select Schedules II-VI on their application. Failing to select a drug schedule may result in the issuance of an MCSR that does not authorize you to prescribe that drug schedule. The Program will allow for drug schedule amendments within the first 30 days of the issuance of an MCSR. After that time, registrants will need to apply for a new MCSR if they wish to be authorized for an additional drug schedule.

To remove drug schedules: If you do not wish to prescribe controlled substances or you do not want to apply for a DEA number, you may voluntarily drop your MCSR to Schedule VI permissions only. You may complete the Drug Schedules Amendment Form (PDF) | (DOCM) at any time to remove schedules. Please note, if you drop schedules from your MCSR and later find that you wish to add the schedules back, you must reapply for a new MCSR.

What is Schedule VI?

Schedule VI drugs consist of all prescription drugs which are not included in Schedules II-V. This is a special Massachusetts schedule (MGL 94C, 105 CMR 720.002).

MGL 94C Section 3 states: “SCHEDULE VI.— (A) The substance is a prescription drug; and (B) Said prescription drug has not been included in Schedules I through V.”

In short, this states that Schedule VI substances are any “normal” prescriptions that are not considered controlled substances in other states. Some examples of drugs that would fit into Schedule VI are antibiotics and “maintenance meds,” such as penicillin, azithromycin, metoprolol, simvastatin, lisinopril, gabapentin, levothyroxine, metformin, etc.

I started working somewhere new. How do I change my MCSR business address?

For individuals: If you begin working somewhere new you will need to update your MCSR business address. If this is the case, you can change your business address at the time of renewal, or you can download the MCSR Business Address Amended Information Form for Individuals (PDF) | (DOCX) to change it at any time. You may email, mail, or fax this completed update form to MCSR.

For facilities: If you are inquiring on behalf of a facility or research registration click here. Please note, facilities attempting to change the address as shown on their registration will need to apply for a new MCSR, rather than amending the address.

When will my MCSR expire?

In most cases, the registration certificate you will receive will not show an expiration date. Until you receive a recall notice from the Department, your registration is valid as long as you maintain continuous practice in this state. This occurs approximately every three years at which time you must respond to the recall notice to maintain your registration.

What if I have a limited license?

You must reapply to the Department with another fee payment when you receive your permanent license, and you will receive a new registration number.

What if I change my business address?

If your business address changes, your MCSR terminates at your former business address. You must re-apply for a new MCSR.

How long will it take to receive my MCSR?

You should receive your registration within 2 to 3 weeks after we receive a completed and correct application online or by mail. Processing an MCSR takes 3 to 5 business days from the receipt of a completed and correct application.

My registration expired. How do I renew it?

When a registration expires it can no longer be renewed. You must apply for a new registration. It is recommended that you apply online. You can do so here.

If you need technical assistance with creating an account or applying for your registration, you can contact 617-973-0935 for help. Applications completed online have a 3-5 days processing time.

You may also apply by paper. Please see the application here. Applications completed by paper have a 7-10 day processing time.

Will MCSR notify me that my registration will soon expire?

Yes. Approximately 60 to 90 days prior to the expiration date, a renewal reminder will be sent by mail to the business address associated with the registration. The business address is the address shown on your registration. If the address on your registration has changed, and you no longer consider it your primary place of employment, please update it as soon as possible by downloading this form: MCSR Business Address Amended Information Form for Individuals (PDF) | (DOCX).

I paid twice for my application/I accidently made two applications online. How can I get a refund for one of the fees?

Please email MCSR@Massmail.State.MA.US with the subject line “MCSR Refund Request”. The Program will review your application details. Please include in the email: your name, how you paid (credit card or check), date of application and payment, MCSR number (if possessed), your MCSR business address, reason for the refund, and any additional information you feel is relevant to the request. If the MCSR Program determines a refund is warranted, we will issue a refund for the application or renewal.

I’d like to request a duplicate copy of my MCSR. How do I go about getting another copy? Can I get an electronic copy emailed to me?

Please email MCSR@Massmail.State.MA.US with the subject line “Duplicate Copy of MCSR Request”. The Program will queue another registration to be generated and sent. Please note, the duplicate copy will be sent to your business address on file within 2 weeks of the request.  We send the registrations to the place of employment as a way to verify a registrants business address is their current place of employment.

If you also wish to have you’re an electronic copy of your MCSR sent to your email address please note that this request can also take up to 2 weeks.

If you’re uncertain about your MCSR business address please first verify the address using the check-a-license website here.

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