Drugs are classified as either over-the-counter drugs or prescription drugs.  Prescriptions are generally required for drugs that may be abused or may be dangerous if not used correctly.  Not all prescription drugs are considered to be causes of dependence, addiction or abuse.  Before we discuss the Controlled Substances Act we will review the characteristics of dependence, addiction and abuse.

CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT  

The Controlled Substances Act (Title 21 United States Code (USC) Controlled Substances Act) is a law that assigns all regulated substances to one of five schedules. The assignment is based upon the substance’s medical use, potential for abuse and dependence, and safety.

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 opium, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, OxyContin, cocaine, Ritalin, Adderall, 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, some barbiturates, Suboxone and Subutex 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, Xanax and other benzodiazepines.

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 substance 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.