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Shoptalk: DEA-Compliant Cages for Controlled Substances

What features make a storage partition DEA-compliant?

Secure Storage Inquiry

video subject in front of a storage cage

In the most recent installment in our Shoptalk video series, employee-owner (and Design Technician Manager) Edward Wallis discusses the differences between DEA-compliant security cages for controlled substances and general security cages. If you deal with pharmaceuticals or other sensitive inventory, you need to know the critical differences between general inventory and controlled substance secure storage.

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Additional features enhance already-secure storage cages

close-up of bolt on a wire mesh security cageIt all comes down to security, which must be tighter for controlled substances than it is for general secure inventory.

As Ed explains, self-closing and self-locking doors are key parts of the code that regulate the secure storage of Class III, IV and V substances.

Another important feature is the panel configuration. Walls must mount flush to the floor and extend to the ceiling—no gaps allowed. The goal is to make it as difficult as possible for those substances to walk away.

While normal cages allow sweep spaces between the bottom of the partition and the floor, DEA compliance allows none

The cages we specify meet those requirements and use a tight 2″ by 1″ mesh. They’re also versatile enough that we can help you work with the features of your facility—just about any facility—without sacrificing full wall height.

Beefed-up hardware and access options

close-up of bolt on a wire mesh security cage

In addition to panel and door specifications, certain hardware requirements also factor into DEA compliance. Again, the important thing is to minimize unauthorized access. Usually, this means brazing, pinning or tack welding the hardware in the field to prevent tampering or damage. Our cages facilitate those protective measures by using heavy-duty hardware you can easily get to on the interior side.

Besides deterring thieves who might operate by damaging the structure, you’ll also need to restrict access from some people who have permission to be in the building. Our cages offer lots of locking options for access management, including a card reader, keypad, biometric reader or deadbolt lock.

Read more: Proper Storage and Handling of Prescription Drugs

When do you need a DEA-compliant cage?

What kind of facilities require DEA-approved storage?

Examples include pharmacies and dispensaries, pharmaceutical companies, medical facilities, distribution centers, record storage areas and drug warehouses. These types of cages are frequently specified for evidence rooms and law enforcement records storage areas. We work with companies that require secure storage of all types and can help you find the cage that meets your unique needs. Medical facilities and warehouses often require secure storage for controlled substances of certain types of higher value equipment that may be considered in the controlled substance category.

Quick list: what makes a cage DEA-compliant?

  • Doors must be self-locking and self-closing. 
  • Walls must be built with at least No. 10 steel fabric with openings no larger than 2-1/2″ across the square.
  • Steel posts must be no more than ten feet apart, with horizontal reinforcement required. 
  • Walls must be mounted to posts of at least 1″ diameter, bolted to the floor.
  • Lag bolts must be pinned or brazed after installation.
  • Ceilings shall be built of the same materials as walls, and built to reach the building’s structural ceiling. 
  • Panels shall be flush to the floor. 
  • Mounting hardware be brazed, pinned, or tack welded in place. 

About Shoptalk

We’re driven to help you identify, specify and implement the right products and systems for your operation. We’re here to help you get it right the first time and make the process easy.

Every full-time employee at Cisco-Eagle owns shares in the company. We think owners provide better service, and we can back it up. Shoptalk is a series of informational posts, videos and other content featuring our real-life employee-owners. We are empowered to get things done for you, and Shoptalk is just one more way we prove it every day.

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