Diversion Control Division, US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration

Chemical Handler's Manual

APPENDIX O – Notice: Safrole and Sassafras Oil can be used in the illicit Manufacture of MDMA


Safrole and Sassafras Oil can be used in the illicit Manufacture of MDMA

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is issuing this notice to inform individuals and businesses handling safrole and essential oils rich in safrole, such as sassafras oil, “brown” camphor oil 1.070, also referred to as Chinese sassafras oil, that they are sometimes used in the manufacture of MDMA. MDMA is also known as ecstasy, and is often spelled XTC. MDMA is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.

MDMA abuse is a major drug problem in the United States.

Criminals search for sources of safrole and essential oils rich in safrole (both will be referred to as “safrole”). Safrole is a list I chemical under federal law.

Regulated persons need to know their customers so as not to become unwitting suppliers to a clandestine MDMA laboratory.

Regulated persons shall report to the DEA Special Agent in Charge of the local DEA office the following information:

  1. Any regulated transaction involving:
    • an extraordinary quantity of safrole,
    • an uncommon method of payment or delivery,
    • or any other circumstance that the regulated person believes may indicate
      that the safrole will be used in violation of the Controlled Substances Act.
  2. Any proposed regulated transaction with a person whose description or other
    identifying characteristic the DEA has previously furnished to the regulated
  3. Any unusual or excessive loss or disappearance of safrole under the control
    of the regulated person. The regulated person responsible for reporting a loss
    in-transit is the supplier.

Please refer to 21 C.F.R. § 1310.05(b) for details on method and timing of reports and 21 C.F.R. §§ 1310.03 and 1310.04 for details regarding recordkeeping requirements.

It is unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess or distribute safrole, knowing, or having reasonable cause to believe, the safrole will be used to manufacture MDMA.

The Drug Enforcement Administration thanks you for your cooperation in this matter.

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