Drugs: Controlled Substances

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According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of a controlled substance is a drug that requires permission from a doctor to use. The legal definition of a controlled substance is a substance (such as a drug) whose use and possession is regulated by law. October 27, 1970 President Richard Nixon, signed the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) into law. This is how the government is able to regulate any manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids, and other chemicals (drugs.com). The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) enforces the Controlled Substance Act, as they are the government agency that is responsible for suppressing illegal drug use and distribution. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are the two agencies made responsible for adding and removing drugs into their respective schedules.

Scheduling of Narcotics

Drugs and substances under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) are divided into five schedules on a federal level and are put into their respective schedules based on their potential for abuse, safety and addiction potential and whether they have currently accepted medical applications in the United States. There is a complete updated list of drugs published annually to Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations (deadiversion.usdoj.gov)

The schedules are I-V, with schedule one being those at the highest risk for abuse and the most dangerous. Schedule I drugs are at a high risk for abuse, no currently accepted medical use for treatment in the United States and lack of accepted safety for use of the drug. Examples of schedule I drugs include Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC/Marijuana), LSD and Ecstasy. Schedule II and IIN (2N) drugs are at a high risk for abuse, has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and could cause severe psychological and physical dependence if abused. Examples of schedule II and IIN (2N) drugs include Morphine, Methadone, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and Hydromorphone.

Schedule III and IIIN (3N) drugs have a potential for abuse that is less than schedule I and II, has a currently accepted medical use in treatment, and low or moderate physical dependence or high psychological dependence is possible if the drug is abused. Examples of these include Tylenol with Codeine and Suboxone. Schedule IV drugs are currently accepted for medical use in treatment and have a low risk for abuse. Examples of these include Valium, Xanax and Klonopin. Schedule V drugs are at a low risk for abuse, currently accepted for medical use in treatment and consist primarily of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Examples of these drugs include Phenergan with Codeine and Robitussin with AC (deadiversion.usdoj.gov).

Controlled Substance Registration

A controlled substance practitioner registration is essentially what it sounds like. Its purpose is to allow practitioners the ability to distribute, dispense, conduct research, administer, or obtain controlled substances in the course of their professional practice as permitted by the Department of Public Health or other governing agency (portal.ct.gov). Requirements to be able to apply for this registration are that the individual must have an active and valid license with the Department of Public Health and are also required to have a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration. The following individuals are those allowed to possess the registration such as Medical Doctor (MD), Osteopaths (DO), Dentists (DDS, DMD), Veterinarians (DVM), Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN), Physician Assistants (PA), and Scientific Investigators.

Prescription-Monitoring Program

In the state of Virginia, as well as 38 other states, there are 24/7 statewide programs that keep record of all prescription drugs distributed within the state. This program is monitored by statewide agencies (not including the DEA, whom does not oversee the program); which distribute the data to the appropriate agencies for purposes that benefit their professions. Not only does the practitioner prescribing the drugs need to use the database, but the pharmacy and pharmacist filling the prescription needs to be using it as well. In 2009, there was a case filed with the courts against a set of pharmacies for not using the database.

This was because a motorist was killed by a patient of the pharmacy, who had a drug problem at least a year before the accident. The patient of the pharmacy had been able to acquire 4,500 hydrocodone pills across 13 different pharmacies because of the lack of monitoring done by the pharmacy and practitioner (drugtopics.com). A few of the benefits of this prescription-monitoring program are to support access to legitimate use of the drugs, identify and prevent drug abuse, to more effectively identify and intervene on persons addicted to prescription drugs, to be able to inform public health initiatives of drug abuse trends, and to be able to educate individuals on the monitoring program, drug abuse and diversion of and addiction to prescription drugs (deadiversion.usdoj.gov).

Controlled Substances and Forensic Testing

For law enforcement and criminal justice professionals, a major component of the fight against drug-related crime and violence is to be able to detect and identify controlled substances. There are many issues caused by controlled substances for criminal justice professionals, such as backlogs, which are created by large quantities of drug evidence being collected. New emerging drugs require crime labs to create new analytical techniques, which causes them to take longer with testing. It also takes longer for forensic labs to distinguish the identity of drugs because of their similarities in appearance (nij.gov). Due to these common issues for criminal analysts, law enforcement is always seeking funding for new ways to more effectively and quickly achieve their goals.

Forensic toxicology is the testing of biological samples (blood, urine, hair, etc.) for the presence of toxins (drugs and alcohol). A toxicology report is able to determine the type of drugs in someone’s system, as well as the dosage of the drugs that were used. The results can then be used to make an assumption or conclusion on the substances potential effects on an individual. Forensic toxicology is always advancing because of the new drugs being made and the need for new testing.

Drug Charges Law

Drug Charges law, also commonly referred to as drug crime law is a subset of criminal law and overlaps with criminal defense law. These are the laws created to handle the possession of illegal drugs, use, manufacturing, and trafficking. Though most drugs are classified as felonies, the seriousness of the offense and subsequent punishment is determined by the type of drug involved and in most cases even the schedule of drug, the quantity of the drug, intent to sell and distribute and any other factors relevant to the case (hg.org).

Drug trafficking charges carry some of the highest and most stiff penalties, such as being denied federal benefits, and being made to forfeit personal property and real estate. Some argue that drug charges are victimless crimes and that there should be lesser charges. Although, there are others who argue that drug related crimes are often related to other violent crimes and should be treated as sternly. Some states are even taking a new approach to drug related crimes by creating drug courts to specifically handle these cases.

Risks and Facts of Controlled Substances

Throughout this paper, we have discussed the regulations, drug schedules, laws, monitoring and testing of a controlled substance and talked about all of the ways they need to be handled. As important as it is to control these drugs, it is just as important that individuals use these correctly for their health concerns. There are medications that are controlled substances that are meant to treat many health issues, such as moderate to severe pain, coughing, attention disorders, sleeping disorders, anxiety, seizures, obesity and many more. As long as a person is taking their prescribed medications as directed by their practitioner and pharmacist, they can be very effective in managing and treating health concerns.

There are also many side effects to each medication and it is important to know and be aware of the risks, especially if not taken as prescribed. An individual can experience serious or life-threatening side effects by mixing certain drugs with one another or with alcohol. It is also possible for an individual to experience an overdose of medications by not taking as prescribed or upping their dosage on their own without first consulting a physician. One of the major issues with someone becoming dependent on controlled substances are the withdrawal symptoms they will experience when trying to stop the medications.

A few of the withdrawal symptoms one could experience are nausea, vomiting, appetite changes, mood swings, sleep disturbances, muscular pain and tremors, heart palpitations and leg and muscle cramps (health.ny.gov). Drugs should never be completely stopped without first consulting a doctor to see if dosing should be lowered first. The overall impression of controlled substances are that they are extremely beneficial to the health of millions of Americans, but the misuse of them requires the government to control those with a higher risk for abuse.

Works Cited

  1. https://www.drugs.com/csa-schedule.html
  2. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/index.html#define
  3. https://portal.ct.gov/DCP/License-Services-Division/All-License-Applications/Controlled-Substance-Practitioner-Registration
  4. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/faq/rx_monitor.htm#2
  5. https://www.nij.gov/topics/forensics/evidence/controlled-substances/pages/welcome.aspx
  6. https://www.hg.org/drug-charges.html
  7. http://www.drugtopics.com/pharmacy-news/monitoring-controlled-substances
  8. https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/12022.pdf

Cite this paper

Drugs: Controlled Substances. (2021, Jul 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/drugs-controlled-substances/

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