The United States 91st Congress enacted the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 to regulate the production, distribution and use of any drugs and substances which can potentially harm people on the basis of improper use and abuse . The law on controlled substances was signed President Nixon, the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 has been used by law enforcing agencies and institutions as a standard of determining the drugs that are to be strictly monitored.
The law presented and identified drugs and other related substances according to five distinct categories called “Schedules." The schedules classify drugs according to their potential for abuse, the known medicinal use and the presence of safety features in the use of the drug. As specified, there are five (5) Schedules of Drugs and Substances . These are as follow:
(1) Schedule 1 – drugs and substances that have high potentials for being abused, has no medicinal use, and there is the absence of a safety features for use or those drugs that are under strict supervision of the Drug Enforcement Agencies. An example of drugs/ substances under schedule 1 is heroin, marijuana and LSB.
(2) Schedule 2 – while these drugs have high potential for abuse, the medical profession has identified medical value to the substance and can be utilized as a form of medical treatment. However, it should be carefully remembered that these drugs can result to physical dependence, and psychological side-effects are used improperly. Thus, severe restrictions are imposed on the use of the drug. Opium and morphine are examples of the drugs under schedule 2.
(3) Schedule 3 – compared to schedules 1 and 2, these drug classifications have a lower potential for abuse. There is also an identifiable use of the drug in medical treatment, and there are very low to moderate possibility of physical dependence but high potential for psychological dependence. Anabolic steroids are the perfect example of drugs under schedule 3.
(4) Schedule 4 – If schedule 3 was compared to drugs under schedules 1 and 2 for the risk of potential abuse, schedule 4 relates only to schedule 3 in reference to the potential risk. Thus, it is safer to say that it has low abusive potential compare to schedule 3. There is also a useful medical benefit to these drugs having current use for it in treating certain medical conditions. There are also very limited possibilities for physical and psychological dependence on the use of the drugs under this classification. These drugs, however, can be refilled for at least 5x over a given 6 month period and can be bought without necessarily having to have a prescription unlike drugs specified in the above first 3 categories. Benzodiazepines and long-acting barbiturates are drugs belonging to schedule 4.
(5) Schedule 5 – the DEA imposes no control on the said substance because it can be distributed and disposed of even in the absence of a prescription and may even be both over the counter. Cough syrups that contain very minimal amount of cocaine is an example of the drug under schedule 5.
The Drug Enforcement Association enforces the rules and regulations regarding the production, distribution and use of the controlled drugs and substances. They also have the capacity to register new drugs or substances from the list depending on the researches and investigations that are being conducted on a regular basis. In addition, they also have a legal and political capacity to remove drugs and substances from the category should it be proven to unsatisfactorily met the provisions in the schedules where it is classified.
Halpern, J. (2004). Hallucinogens and dissociative agents naturally growing in the United States. Pharmacology & Therapeutics , 131–138.
US: Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. (2012). The Controlled Substances Act of 1970: A BNDD Manual for Researchers. Fairfax, Virginia: US Department of Justice.