Introduction

U.S. legislation called the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 has ranked and categorized drugs according to their effects, medical use, and potential for abuse. Ongoing research may reclassify drugs from one category to another, as has happened in the past.

At the federal level. Schedule I is the most strictly controlled—with the highest abuse potential; Schedule V is the least strictly controlled—drugs sold with or without prescription by mail and in shops, with instructions for use, dosages, and warnings about effects and side effects printed on the packaging of over-the-counter (OTC) medications. The schedules shown below in simplified form are followed by extensive schedules (which are discussed fully in Volume 1, in the article entitled Controls: Scheduled Drugs/Drug Schedules, U.S.). A discussion of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 precedes it.

Drugs are scheduled under federal law according to their effects, medical use, and potential for abuse

Schedule

Abuse Potential

Examples of Drugs Covered

Some of the Effects

Medical Use

highest high medium low lowest heroin, LSD, hashish, marijuana, methaqualone morphine, PCP, cocaine, methadone, methamphetamine codeine with aspirin or Tylenol®, some barbiturates, anabolic steroids

Darvon®, Talwin®, Equanil®, Valium®, Xanax® over-the-counter or prescription cough medicines with codeine unpredictable effects, severe psychological or physical dependence, or death may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence no accepted use; some are legal for limited research use only accepted use with restrictions accepted use accepted use accepted use

SOURCE: Adapted from Drug Enforcement Administration, Drugs of abuse (1996) and Schedules of Controlled Substances, Revised as of April 1, 1998.

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