Special Issues

The development of designer drugs has raised many concerns about policing drugs of abuse. Underground chemists who develop designer drugs seek to achieve two results: the creation of marketable drugs that mimic the effects of restricted drugs of abuse; and the creation of drugs that are not specifically listed as controlled substances by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The most popular designer drug of the late 1990s was MDMA (methylenedioxymeth-amphetamine), popularly known as Ecstasy. Despite efforts to evade federal drug laws, the designers of these drugs eventually see them added to the CSA. For example, MDMA was placed on Schedule I on an emergency basis in 1985 because of its neurotoxic effects and abuse potential.

State and local laws either parallel the federal regulations as described by the CSA, or impose additional restrictions. Individuals registered to handle controlled drugs must abide by the law (state or federal) that is most stringent in governing their business or professional activity. Examples where state law may be more stringent than federal law include the requirement for TRIPLICATE PRESCRIPTION forms or the placing of a drug in a higher schedule.

(SEE ALSO: Addiction: Concepts and Definitions; Legal Regulation of Drugs and Alcohol)


Baumgartner, K., & Hoffman, D. (Eds.) (1993). Schedules of controlled substances. In Controlled substances handbook. Arlington, VA: Government Information Services, J. J. Marshall Publisher.

Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR Parts 13011308). (1992). Food and drugs—Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Simonsmeier, L. M., & Fink, J. L. (1990). The comprehensive drug abuse prevention and control act of 1970. In A. R. Gennaro (Ed.), Remington's pharmaceutical sciences, 18th ed. Easton, PA: Mack Publishing Company.

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. (2000). National Drug Control Strategy: 2000 Annual Report. Washington, D.C.

Rolley E. Johnson Anastasia E. Nasis Revised by Frederick K. Grittner

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