Understanding the Controlled Substances Act - Novusdetox

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Understanding the Controlled Substances Act

Many of us have an understanding that some types of drugs are supposed to be harder to obtain than others. However, most of us may not know how these determinations are made and under what authority.

Most people don’t realize that the Ritalin they give their children is considered just as dangerous as cocaine and methadone. The following is an explanation of the federal law who is charged with enforcing it.

CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is a federal law that creates five schedules (lists) of drugs that are federally regulated along with rules for the manufacture, distribution and availability of the drugs.

POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE

The CSA establishes different standards for the availability of drugs based on an individual drug’s potential for abuse. While not specifically defined by the CSA, the determination of a drug that has “potential for abuse” has generally used the following data:

  • if taking it can create a health hazard for the individual or those around him;
  • how addictive is the drug;
  • how easily one becomes dependent on the drug;
  • if the drug is used for medical treatment;
  • if the drug is now being used in medical treatment;
  • if the drug has a hallucinogenic effect;
  • if the drug could be used to create another drug having one of the abuse factors;
  • if the drug is being sold other than through the legitimate channels (e.g. on the street);

The CSA has developed five schedules that include the drugs with the highest potential for abuse in Schedule I and the drugs with the lowest potential for abuse in Schedule V.

Schedule I

  • The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  • There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
  • Examples of Schedule I substances include heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana, and methaqualone (Quaaludes).

Schedule II

  • The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.
  • Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
  • Examples of Schedule II substances include morphine, phencyclidine (PCP), cocaine, Ritalin, Adderall, oxycodone, methadone, and methamphetamine.

Schedule III

  • The drug or other substance has less potential for abuse than the drugs or other substances in Schedules I and II.
  • The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  • Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
  • Anabolic steroids, codeine and hydrocodone with aspirin or Tylenol, Suboxone, buprenorphine and some barbiturates are examples of Schedule III substances.

Schedule IV

  • The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III.
  • The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  • Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III.
  • Examples of drugs included in Schedule IV are Darvon, Talwin, Equanil, Valium, and Xanax.

Schedule V

  • The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule IV.
  • The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  • Abuse of the drug or other substances may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule IV.
  • Cough medicines with codeine are examples of Schedule V drugs.

The DEA Administrator is given the authority to propose changes to the classifications of drugs or additions to the controlled substances use and this decision becomes effective if not changed after public review and comment.

 

REGISTRATION AND RECORDKEEPING

Any person who handles controlled substances must obtain a registration issued by the DEA. The CSA requires that complete and accurate records be kept of all quantities of controlled substances manufactured, purchased, and sold. Each substance must be inventoried every two years.

In theory, these records make it possible to trace the flow of any drug from the time it is first imported or manufactured, through the distribution level, to the pharmacy or hospital that dispensed it, and then to the actual patient who received the drug. (Of course, this raises the question of how the internet pharmacies obtain the drugs that they sell without a prescription.)

In the case of Schedule I and II drugs, the supplier must have a special order form from the customer. This order form (DEA Form 222):

  • Is issued by the DEA only to persons who are properly registered to handle Schedules I and II.
  • Is preprinted with the name and address of the customer.
  • The drugs must be shipped to this name and address.

An order form is not necessary for drugs listed in Schedules III, IV, and V. The supplier in each case, however, is under an obligation to verify the authenticity of the customer.

SECURITY

All controlled substances must be properly secured so that they are not diverted and used for criminal purposes.

DISPENSING TO PATIENTS

While the FDA determines which drugs must be available only by prescription, the CSA mandates how controlled substances are obtained by the public.

Schedule I drugs may be used only for research.

Schedule II drugs must have written prescription orders signed by a doctor and may not be telephoned into the pharmacy except in an emergency. In order for a patient to obtain a refill of a Schedule II drug, the patient must see the doctor.

For Schedule III and IV drugs, the prescription may be either written or telephoned to the pharmacy and the prescription may be refilled up to five times within six months from the date the prescription was issued.

Schedule V drugs have far fewer restrictions.

ANNUAL AMOUNTS OF SCHEDULE I AND SCHEDULE II DRUGS

Under the CSA, each calendar year the DEA is to assess the need for Schedule I and Schedule II drugs and then establish the amount of the drugs that may be produced. The DEA allocates the annual amount among the various manufacturers who are registered to manufacture the specific drug.

PENALTIES

Most of us know about the criminal penalties that are imposed on drug dealers but not as many are aware that since 1988, there are civil penalties that can be imposed for the person who buys the drug. These civil penalties are in addition to any criminal penalties that may apply.

PERSONAL USE AMOUNTS

Since 1988, if the offender is in possession of only a small amount of drugs, a civil fine of up to $10,000 may be imposed and there is no need for the expense of a trial.

In determining the amount of the fine in a particular case, the drug offender’s income and assets will be considered. This is accomplished through an administrative proceeding rather than a criminal trial, thus reducing the exposure of the offender to the entire criminal justice system, and reducing the costs to the offender and the government.

For a first offense, if the offender has paid all fines, passes a drug test and has not been convicted of a crime after three years, the offender can request that all proceedings be dismissed. If the proceeding is dismissed, the offender can lawfully say he or she had never been prosecuted, either criminally or civilly, for a drug offense.

There is hope for a new life. Call to speak to one of our experienced & caring detox advisors today!

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