Controlled substance dependence (CSD) among anesthesiology personnel, particularly residents, has become a matter of increasing concern. Opinions vary as to the effectiveness of controlled substances (CS) accountability in deterring, identifying, or confirming CSD. A survey of program directors of American anesthesiology training programs was conducted in the summer of 1990 to determine the level of CS dispensing and accountability within their programs. The survey demonstrated that CS dispensing and accountability varied considerably among programs, among hospitals associated with individual programs, and within geographically distinct anesthesia delivery areas within the separate hospitals. Nevertheless, most institutions were moving toward improved methods of CS dispensing and providing more and better CS accountability. The presence of significant CSD, particularly among anesthesiology residents, was reconfirmed. We were unable to correlate the level of accountability of CS with the incidence of CSD. It remains to be seen to what extent CS accountability will continue to develop and whether CSD prevalence will then be changed.