Chemical Industry Conference
September 21 & 22, 2010 — Denver, Colorado
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Office of Diversion Control, sponsored the 11th DEA Chemical Industry Conference, September 21-22, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. Participants included approximately 40 representatives from 28 List I chemical registrants. The purpose of this national conference is to educate DEA regulated chemical industry representatives on current trends and issues involving List I chemicals. Industry representatives also had an opportunity to interact with DEA representatives to express issues or concerns on behalf of the company they represent. This conference is held on a biennial basis and is one of the mechanisms used by the Office of Diversion Control to foster communication and cooperation with the chemical industry.
James Palestino, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, opened the conference on behalf of the DEA Denver Division. Mr. Palestino welcomed the group and gave a brief overview of the Diversion Control Program and its role with regulating List I chemicals.
Denise Curry, Deputy Director, DEA Office of Diversion Control, thanked the companies for their participation and for their cooperation with DEA. Ms. Curry gave a brief overview of the topics that would be presented at the conference.
Mark Caverly, Section Chief, DEA HQ, Liaison & Policy Section, served as the master of ceremonies. Mr. Caverly made administrative announcements and introduced the various speakers.
Alex Dominguez, Section Chief, DEA HQ, Synthetic Drugs & Chemicals Section, discussed precursor chemical trends. He explained the "smurfing" technique being used to obtain pseudoephedrine and ephedrine over-the-counter products for use in illicit manufacture of methamphetamine. He also talked about methamphetamine production in the Central America region and how the chemical industry needs to be especially vigilant about exporting listed chemicals to this area.
Susan Carr, Deputy Section Chief, DEA HQ, Drug & Chemical Evaluation Section, provided information about current and emerging scheduling actions. She discussed the different types of scheduling actions including recently controlled pharmaceuticals including Tapentadol, Lacosamide, and Fospropofol. She also discussed the pending control of Carisoprodol (brand name Soma®), which is a centrally-acting muscle relaxant with sedative properties. She also talked about DEA's concern over the abuse of Tramadol and DEA's efforts to have the drug classified as a controlled substance. Ms. Carr then discussed Salvia Divinorum and Salvinorin A, an herb which is used as a hallucinogen and primarily abused by adolescents. Finally, she discussed THC-like substances, i.e. "Spice."
In the afternoon of the first day, Stacy Harper-Avilla, Unit Chief, DEA HQ, U.N. Reporting & Quota Unit, discussed List I chemical quotas. Ms. Harper-Avilla discussed quota requirements, including the assessment of annual needs, individual manufacturing quotas, procurement quotas and import quotas. She then informed the conference attendees about the appropriate forms and procedures for applying for each type of quota. Finally, Ms. Harper-Avilla reviewed answers to frequently asked questions regarding List I chemical quotas.
Joseph Draganac, U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), discussed CBP issues such as the Trade Act of 2002 which provides CBP the necessary information to do risk assessment and advanced targeting. He also discussed the CBP targeting process. Finally, he discussed several tips for industry to assist CBP such as:
- provide an accurate cargo description on all import documents,
- ensure that DEA Forms 486 are filed timely,
- get to know the port of entry (where their product is imported), in particular, how that port of entry likes to do things,
- provide accurate information, such as name and address, for all parties, i.e. consignees,
- determine the legitimacy of end users (know to whom you are selling),
- if deemed to be suspicious, contact the local DEA office and CBP port of entry, and
- include MSDS with shipments so CBP Officers have information on the contents of the package.
Mark Caverly, Section Chief, DEA HQ, Liaison & Policy Section, discussed DEA regulatory updates. He explained the Unified Agenda which is published on behalf of all federal agencies twice a year and summarizes the proposed rules that each agency expects to issue during the following year. This information is available to the public via the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) website. Mr. Caverly then explained the regulatory drafting process. Finally, he discussed the revision of the DEA Chemical Handler's Manual.
The first day concluded with an Industry Best Practices Panel. Robert Kiefer, American Chemistry Council, moderated the panel discussion. Other panel members included Karen Ranbom, Rhodia, Inc.; Maria Valdez, The Dow Chemical Company; and Cheryl Luckhaupt, The Proctor & Gamble Company. Each panel member discussed the regulated chemical activities of their company and highlighted the problems and issues they face regarding regulatory compliance involving listed chemicals.
Day two of the conference began with a presentation by Mark Via, Technical Information Specialist, DEA HQ, Import/Export Unit, regarding Import/Export/DEA Form 486. Mr. Via discussed the "best practices" for completing and submitting the 486 form to DEA. He then talked about "Regular Customer Status," and finally, he informed the attendees about DANIEL, DEA's Application for New Import and Export Licenses. This system will allow U.S. chemical and pharmaceutical companies to submit DEA forms for the import and export of listed chemicals and controlled substances to DEA through the internet.
John Mastrorilli, Group Supervisor, DEA Hartford, CT, discussed the importance of the partnership between industry and DEA and that industry is the first line of defense in preventing diversion of listed chemicals. He stressed the importance of timely notifications to DEA of all imports and exports via DEA Form 486. Mr. Mastrorilli also discussed an incident whereby a DEA-registered chemical company notified DEA about a suspicious order of acetic anhydride destined for the Middle East. Acetic anhydride is a List I chemical used illicitly in the production of heroin. Investigation by DEA revealed that the company in the Middle East had no legitimate use for the chemical, and the shipment was suspended.
Linden Barber, Associate Chief Counsel, DEA HQ, Office of Chief Counsel, gave a presentation entitled, "Bumps, Potholes and Landmines, Navigating the Highway of Chemical Laws and Regulations." He discussed a few recent administrative actions taken against DEA List I chemical registrants. Mr. Barber discussed various legal/regulatory issues such as the importance of identifying and verifying the apparent validity of parties to regulated transactions (including ensuring that retail customers purchasing scheduled listed chemical products have self-certified with DEA), reporting suspicious transactions, making and keeping required records and reports.
The afternoon started with a subject matter breakout session which gave attendees time to discuss specific topics with DEA personnel. The three topics available for discussion were: Quotas, DEA Forms 486, and Regulations.
The conference ended with a DEA panel to address industry concerns. The panel consisted of seven DEA representatives who responded to questions as posed by conference participants.