The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 is a federal law passed on October 27, 1970 aimed at monitoring potentially addictive and harmful drugs, as to reduce the risk of misuse. It requires pharmaceutical companies to keep a strictly accurate and up-to-date inventory record of such drugs to which the act pertains, to maintain a full record of transactions involving those drugs, and sometimes limits who can sell the drugs, in what quantities, and with what prescription renewal limitations. This registration requirement and the licensing depending upon it are the “nuts and bolts” of the act’s drug control efforts, without which the whole system would be reduced to mere salutary advice. The act classifies drugs into one of five categories called “schedules”, which are based on the level of addictiveness, existence and extent of medical usage, and safety issues.
The Controlled Substances Act is considered a part (Title II) of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, and is itself a unification of a number of previous laws that concerned the manufacture and sale of potentially addictive or dangerous drugs. The CSA is considered to provide the foundational authority for the CDAP&CA and establishes the system whereby drugs are evaluated, added to a schedule, moved between schedules, or removed entirely from all schedules. The Drug Enforcement Agency and Health and Human Services are instrumental in administering both CDAP&CA and CSA.
The CDAP&CA’s Schedule I is reserved for substances that have the highest level of potential addiction, have no known medical use, are not considered safe under any circumstances, and are in fact illegal. Schedules II through V classify drugs that are progressively less addictive, though still dangerous enough to be of some concern. Some Schedule V drugs do not even require a prescription.
Generally speaking, drugs in the early schedules are more potent and require only small doses for short periods of time before tolerance to the drug, withdrawal symptoms between doses, and cravings for the drug develop. Higher schedules normally list drugs that can be just as addictive if taken in sufficiently large amounts, for longer periods of time, and at shorter-spaced intervals. Some of the less potent drugs have actually become a more widespread problem, since they are easier to obtain and normally cheaper to purchase. One should exercise extreme caution in using any scheduled drug and not assume that a Schedule IV or V drug is harmless.
Not only illegal, but prescription drugs are often abused in the United States, being taken by those to whom they were not prescribed by a doctor, being taken too frequently, or ingested in too large of doses. It’s always wise to have a friend monitor your drug use when taking a DEA-scheduled drug for any purpose. If you feel even the slightest signs of addiction, you should not wait until you have become fully captivated by the power of the drug before seeking help, but should quickly talk to your physician. Do not fear the doctor will think you are accusing him of getting you addicted to a bad drug – he understood the existence of addiction potential when he prescribed it, but the benefits of the drug in your circumstances outweighed the risks in his estimation. It’s possible even to become physically and psychologically addicted to a drug that is taken as prescribed.
In extreme cases of pain and rehabilitation, a powerful drug with some level of risk may be a preferred choice (for it has a recognized medical use). If, however, you find yourself in that percentage of users who will develop an addiction to the drug, you should seek help immediately. There are drug addiction professionals who specialize in weaning people off of each particular type of drug. Help is available, so don’t despair. Don’t hesitate to seek help today to correct the problem if you are becoming, or presently are, addicted.