Section IV. THE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT
HISTORY OF CONTROL OF NARCOTIC SUBSTANCES
a. In today's medical environment you constantly hear of controlled substances.
As you know, controlled substances are legend drugs that have special rules and
regulations governing and controlling their use. This has not always been the case: At
one time, these substances were easy to obtain.
b. Even in the late 1800's, opiates (a derivative of opium) could be purchased -
without a prescription--in general stores and pharmacies. Opiates could also be
ordered by mail. Furthermore, various patent medicines (for example, "Grandma's
Tonic") containing opiates could be purchased without a prescription.
c. The Harrison Narcotic Act was passed in 1914 to better control these types of
medications. This act established specific guidelines for the buying, selling, dispensing,
and storing of certain drugs. Drugs covered in this act were divided into four classes
depending upon their abuse potential. These classes were designated as "A", "B", "M",
and "X". Class "A" narcotics were considered to be the most dangerous. Interestingly,
this act classified cocaine as a narcotic--although cocaine is not a narcotic substance.
As you might suppose, the passage of this act did not stop the abuse of these
d. Many drugs with high potential for abuse were placed on the market after the
Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914. Soon it became obvious that these drugs needed tighter
control because of their likelihood of abuse. The Drug Abuse Control Amendment
(DACA) was approved in 1965 as an amendment to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
The primary purpose of the DACA was to identify and regulate the prescription of drugs
that had a high abuse potential (for example, amphetamines and barbiturates).
PURPOSE OF THE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT
Prior to 1970, many laws existed that pertained to the control of drugs.
Eventually it became necessary to combine and simplify these laws. Such a
simplification became one of the purposes of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. In
addition, the act transferred enforcement of all laws regulating controlled substances
from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
to a new agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) which is now a part of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Controlled Substances Act was Title II of the
Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. The Controlled
Substances Act also divided abusable drugs into five schedules.