Drug Schedules/Classifications

Drug Schedules/Classifications

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) has classified certain drugs, chemicals, and substances into five schedules, or categories, according to their potential for abuse and accepted medical use. Any facility that dispenses these substances must be registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and a physician must have a DEA number if he or she would like to be able to write prescriptions for controlled substances. Level 1 drugs are typically not prescribed as their use isn’t medically helpful (or legal). However, this is changing in some areas as state laws allow for the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions. Prescriptions for classes II-V can be handwritten or computer generated, but must be hand signed in ink by the physician. Class II drugs are non-refillable, but classes III-V typically allow for up to 5 refills within six months of the date of prescription.

The drug schedules are as follows:

Level I

Highest level of abuse with no legally accepted medical use.

Examples: heroin, crack, marijuana, ecstasy, Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)

Level II

Medical benefits, but a high level of abuse potential due to their strong risk of psychological and physical dependency.

Examples: cocaine, morphine, fentanyl, Codeine, Ritalin, Oxycontin, Dilaudid

Level III

Medical benefits, with a moderate to low risk of abuse that is lower than Schedule I and II drugs.

Examples: testosterone, Lortab, Tylenol with Codeine

Level IV

Medical benefits with a low risk of abuse and physical/psychological dependence

Examples: Ativan, Xanax, Stadol, Valium

Level V

Medical benefits with the lowest abuse and addiction potential if the five categories.

Examples: Lomotil, Robitussin AC, Lyrica

Drug Classification Schedules

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