Mental Health

What Is A Controlled Substance?

Controlled substances are defined as prescription drugs or illegal substances regulated by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in the United States. The act categorizes all substances that are regulated and distributed into (5) distinct categories or schedules depending on how potentially dangerous they are. The schedule the drug is placed under depends on its medical use, its potential for abuse, and its safety or how easily people become dependent on it.

The abuse rate is a determinate factor in the scheduling of the drug; for example, Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence. As the drug schedule changes Schedule II, Schedule III, etc., so does the abuse potential. Schedule V drugs represents the least potential for abuse. A Listing of drugs and their schedule are located at Controlled Substance Act (CSA) Scheduling or CSA Scheduling by Alphabetical Order. These lists describes the basic or parent chemical and do not necessarily describe the salts, isomers and salts of isomers, esters, ethers and derivatives which may also be classified as controlled substances. These lists are intended as general references and are not comprehensive listings of all controlled substances.

Please note that a substance need not be listed as a controlled substance to be treated as a Schedule I substance for criminal prosecution. A controlled substance analogue is a substance which is intended for human consumption and is structurally or pharmacologically substantially similar to or is represented as being similar to a Schedule I or Schedule II substance and is not an approved medication in the United States.

Schedule 1

Schedule 1 drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.

Schedule 2

Schedule 2 drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Some examples of Schedule 2 drugs are: Combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin.

Schedule 3

Schedule 3 drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Schedule 3 drugs abuse potential is less than Schedule 2 and Schedule 1 drugs but more than Schedule 4. Some examples of Schedule 3 drugs are: Products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone.

Schedule 4

Schedule 4 drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Some examples of Schedule 4 drugs are: Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien, Tramadol.

Schedule 5

Schedule 5 drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with lower potential for abuse than Schedule 4 and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes. Some examples of Schedule 5 drugs are: cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC), Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, Parepectolin.

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