How Drugs Are Categorized by FDA

How Drugs Are Categorized by FDA

How Drugs Are Categorized by FDA & How Drug Addiction Treatment Can Help

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the regulation and safety of many different areas of everyday life including food, drugs, medical devices, radiation-emitting products, animal and veterinary practices, cosmetics, tobacco products, and vaccines. Given the vast scope of regulation the FDA oversees, it’s understandable that the FDA plays a part in how you live your daily life. They are the ones who say what an acceptable expiration date is, or whether the prescription drug is safe for consumption.

The FDA’s ultimate goal is consumer safety and ensuring that its regulations are upheld in all categories of products they oversee. One of the trickier areas the FDA oversees is drug classification and regulation. This is the most controversial jurisdiction they have, with drug classifications leading to criminalization and in some cases, further contributing to the cycle of drug abuse. 

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 was legislation put in place to regulate the manufacturing, possession, use, and distribution of all drugs. The FDA relies on this piece of legislation when approving research studies and determining the safety of substances. This piece of legislation defined what was an illegal drug and forced legislation and criminalization of the personal use and possession of drugs, even those who were addicted. The legislation has since put more addicts in jail rather than putting them in drug addiction treatment centers, which has played a role in the stigmatization of drug use.

Although this legislation has been revised since 1970, the stigma around the different schedules of drugs and the consequences of addiction to these drugs is still criminalized. When categorizing drugs, the CSA considered the following three factors: 

  1. Potential for abuse: How likely is this drug to be abused?
  2. Accepted medical use: Is this drug used as a treatment in the United States?
  3. Safety and potential for addiction: Is this drug safe? How likely is this drug to cause addiction? What kinds of addiction?

The answers resulted in a categorization schedule that puts the least addictive drugs at the bottom of the schedule and the most addictive at the top. The FDA controls which drugs can be researched, and which are deemed not safe for study. The result is that Schedule I drugs cannot be researched because the FDA doesn’t approve studies involving human participation. 

Schedule I

Schedule I substances are categorized based on the following findings: 

  1. The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
  2. The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  3. There is a lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision

Marijuana and Heroin are examples of a Schedule I substance. 

Schedule II

Schedule II substances are categorized based on the following findings: 

  1. The drug or other substances have a high potential for abuse
  2. The drug or other substances have currently no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions
  3. Abuse of the drug or other substances may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence

Cocaine is an example of a Schedule II substance. 

Schedule III

Schedule III substances are categorized based on the following findings: 

  1. The drug or other substance has a potential for abuse less than the drugs or other substances in Schedules I and II.
  2. The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  3. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence

Anabolic steroids are examples of a Schedule III substance. 

Schedule IV

Schedule IV substances are categorized based on the following findings: 

  1. The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule III
  2. The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States
  3. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule II

Valium is an example of a Schedule IV substance. 

Schedule V

Schedule V substances are categorized based on the following findings: 

  1. The drug or other substance has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule IV
  2. The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States
  3. Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in schedule IV

Cough suppressants containing Codeine are an example of a Schedule V substance. 

How Springboard Recovery Can Help

Springboard Recovery looks beyond your addiction to see you as a whole person who needs the right tools to gain control of your life once again. Our drug addiction treatment approach equips the user with the tools, support, and mindset to beat your addiction once and for all. To us, it isn’t vital what schedule your addiction falls under – just that you get the help you need.

It’s important to seek drug addiction treatment if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction. It is not a criminal act, but a mental health disorder that requires holistic treatment to overcome. Our qualified professionals will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan that works for you. 

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 how drugs get categorized by FDA and when drug addiction treatment is necessary