What is ARCOS and What Does it Do?

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (§ 827) created the requirement for Manufacturers and Distributors to report their controlled substances transactions to the Attorney General. The Attorney General delegates this authority to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

ARCOS is an automated, comprehensive drug reporting system which monitors the flow of DEA controlled substances from their point of manufacture through commercial distribution channels to point of sale or distribution at the dispensing/retail level - hospitals, retail pharmacies, practitioners, mid-level practitioners, and teaching institutions. Included in the list of controlled substance transactions tracked by ARCOS are the following: All Schedules I and II materials (manufacturers and distributors); Schedule III narcotic and gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) materials (manufacturers and distributors); and selected Schedule III and IV psychotropic drugs (manufacturers only).

ARCOS accumulates these transactions which are then summarized into reports which give investigators in Federal and state government agencies information which can then be used to identify the diversion of controlled substances into illicit channels of distribution. The information on drug distribution is used throughout the United States (U.S.). by U.S. Attorneys and DEA investigators to strengthen criminal cases in the courts.