The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, adopted in Vienna on 19 December 1988 forms the basis for precursor chemical legislation. Article 12 of the convention requires appropriate measures to be taken to prevent diversion of substances used in the illegal manufacture of narcotic and psychotropic drugs and co-operation and communication among stakeholders involved.

A copy of the United Nations Convention can be found on the website of the International Narcotics Control Board

Currently the main pieces of legislation governing scheduled substances in Europe are as follows;

European Legislation



Council Regulation (EC) No. 111/2005 (as amended)

Deals with trade between the EU and third countries

Regulation (EC) No. 273/2004 (as amended)

Deals with trade within the EU

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No. 2015/1011 of 24 April 2015


Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 2015/1013 of 25 June 2015

Implementing provisions for both Regulation (EC) No. 273/2004 (as amended) & Council Regulation (EC) No. 111/2005 (as amended)

National legislation



S.I. No. 558/2009 – European Communities (Control of Drug Precursors) Regulations 2009



Implementing provisions for both Regulation (EC) No. 273/2004 (as amended) & Council Regulation (EC) No. 111/2005 (as amended)


The Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority is responsible for ensuring operators within Ireland who manufacture, supply,possess and/or use precursor chemicals operate in compliance with European legislation for certain activities. The activities we are responsible for are;

  • licensing of operators
  • registration of operators
  • import/export authorisations
  • annual reporting to the International Narcotics Control Board
  • inspection of operators within Ireland 

Other authorities, such as An Garda Siochana and Customs, have responsibilities for other activities under this legislation. 

Requirements for operators

Some of the common requirements for operators who manufacture, supply, possess and/or use precursor chemicals are detailed below;

  • Obtain a licence or registration
  • Obtain import or export authorisation as required
  • Obtain customer declarations as required
  • Report annually to the competent authority on transactions and annual usage
  • Document and label transactions as required
  • Report all thefts and losses
  • Notify suspicious transactions