Controlled drugs

Chat with Pharmacy Staff

Question

What is a controlled drug?

Answer

The Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) rates drugs in order of their abuse risk, accepted medical use in the United States, and their potential for dependence, and places them in one of five "Schedules", or classifications. Schedule I contains drugs with the highest abuse potential; Schedule V, the lowest. (Schedules are also designated as C1, C2, C3, C4, and C5.)

  • Schedule I drugs, such as heroin, marijuana, and crack cocaine, are those determined to have no safe and accepted medical use in the U.S.

  • Schedule II drugs are accepted for medical use in this country, but also have a high potential for abuse and can cause severe physical or psychological dependence. This schedule includes certain narcotic, depressant, and stimulant drugs.

  • Schedules III, IV, and V drugs include medically accepted drugs with less risk for abuse, including certain anti-anxiety drugs, tranquilizers, and non-narcotic pain relievers.

Visit our Drug Information section to get details about specific drugs.




Back to Pharmacist FAQs

If you're looking for more specific answers to specific questions, ask a Walgreens pharmacist here.

DISCLAIMER:
Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a Walgreens.com pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.