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A controlled substance is generally a drug or chemical whose manufacture, possession, or use is regulated by a government, such as illicitly used drugs or prescription medications that are designated by law. Some treaties, notably the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances provide internationally agreed upon "schedules" of controlled substances, which have been incorporated into national laws.
Some precursor chemicals used for the production of illegal drugs are also controlled substances in many countries, even though they may lack the pharmacological effects of the drugs themselves. Substances are classified according to schedules and consist primarily of potentially psychoactive substances. The controlled substances do not include many prescription items such as antibiotics.
Laws and enforcement
In the United States, the Drug Enforcement Administration is the federal government agency responsible for suppressing illegal drug use and distribution by enforcing the Controlled Substances Act, which regulates both the drugs themselves and certain precursors. Some U.S. states have additional restrictions for substances which might or might not be regulated by the federal government. During the Obama Administration, the federal government also voluntarily suspended enforcement of federal laws restricting marijuana where people were operating in compliance with state law.
Some states in the U.S. have statutes against health care providers self-prescribing and/or administering substances listed in the Controlled Substance Act schedules. This does not forbid licensed providers from self-prescribing medications not on the schedules.
In the United Kingdom, the term "controlled drug" (CD) is used for substances governed by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Other national drug prohibition laws include the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Canada) and the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 (New Zealand), among many others.
- Laws of New York State, §3306: Schedules of controlled substances. (under PBH Public Health, Article 33, Title I)
- Texas State Controlled Substance Act (Health and Safety Code, Title 6, Chapter 481)
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