Definition of Scheduled Drug

scheduled drugScheduled Drug – In the United States a drug that has strict prescribing and availability criteria because of its potential for addiction or abuse, as the federal Uniform Controlled Substance Act (UCSA) of 1970 specifies and regulates.

Some substances are scheduled drugs (also called controlled substances) because they have no medicinal or therapeutic value yet may cause considerable harm or death when used, such as heroin and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).

The UCSA establishes five levels of control for such drugs, indicated by a Roman numeral on the drug package’s label.

Each level of control has specific requirements for ordering, storing, prescribing, dispensing, and destroying the scheduled drugs within its definition; in general the distribution system is a closed one in that every individual who handles a scheduled drug must account for that drug’s passage through his or her contact. The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) oversees compliance with UCSA regulations. Though state provider licensing regulations designate prescribing authority for scheduled drugs, a provider must have a DEA license to prescribe scheduled drugs.

Schedule I drugs are available only to researchers. Schedule II drugs require a written prescription for each quantity of drug received. Schedule III and schedule IV drugs require a written or oral prescription and are refillable from the original prescription up to five times within six months if the provider authorizes refills. Under federal law schedule V drugs do not require a prescription though states may otherwise regulate their availability.

List of Scheduled Drugs

Scheduled Drugs
ScheduleCommon DrugsDefinition
schedule Iheroin, lsd, mescaline, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), methaqualone, racemoramide, tilidine, trimeperidineno accepted medical use
high risk for abuse
unsafe for use
schedule IIamobarbital, amphetamine, cocaine, codeine, glutethimide, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, levorphanol, meperidine, methadone, methylphenidate, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, pentobarbitallimited medical use
high risk for abuse
high risk for physical or psychological dependence
schedule IIIamobarbital, amphetamine, anabolic steroids, buprenorphine, chlorphentermine, codeine compounds, glutethimide, hydrocodone compounds, phenmetrazineaccepted medical use
moderate risk for abuse
moderate risk for physical or psychological dependence
schedule IVbenzodiazepines, chloral hydrate, meprobamate, paraldehyde, pemoline, pentazocine, phenobarbital, propoxyphene compounds, zolpidemaccepted medical use
low risk for abuse
low risk for physical or psychological dependence
schedule Vcodeine cough preparations, dihydrocodeine, diphenoxylateaccepted medical use
negligible risk for abuse
negligible risk for physical dependence, low risk for psychological dependence


Scheduled Drug – list and definition
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