What Are Controlled Substances?
A controlled substance is simply any drug designated by law as a restricted substance. Both federal and state laws address controlled substances, and under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act (which most states have adopted), federal and state laws have been harmonized to a degree.
Common examples of controlled substances are:
Uniform Controlled Substances Act
Almost all of the states have adopted the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, a set of laws that categorize drugs into five different “schedules,” depending on the drug’s potential for abuse. A drug’s categorization can affect the severity of a person’s punishment for illegally using or selling them.
Contains drugs that have the most serious potential for abuse. The drugs in Schedule I either have no accepted medical use in the United States or they are not safe for use under medical treatment. Common Schedule I drugs include:
- Heroin and other opiates
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
- Psilocybin (mushrooms)
Contains drugs that have a high potential for abuse and may lead to dependence, but there are accepted medical uses. Examples are some stimulants that prevent narcolepsy and certain depressants that help fight convulsions.
Contains drugs that have less potential for abuse than in Schedule II, but abuse of the drug may still lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Drugs in this category have an accepted medical use in the United States. These drugs are similar to Schedule II drugs but are in a lower dosage or are less addictive.
Contains drugs that have a lower potential for abuse, have a currently accepted medical use, and abuse may lead to a small amount of physical or psychological addiction. Examples of drugs in this category are some types that help fight obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Contains drugs with an accepted medical use, a low potential for abuse, yet may still lead to some small dependence. An example is the injection a hospital would give to relieve pain before a surgery.