Federal Laws for Substance Abuse

Federal Laws for Substance Abuse

Because of the dangerous effects that certain drugs can have on you, the government has made it their mission throughout the years to place laws towards drug use. Not only towards drug offenses but new laws to encourage drug treatment. By learning about how far we have come in terms of drug laws, we can think about more that needs to be done today towards the opioid crisis.

Controlled Substances Act of 1970

In 1970, President Nixon signed that all federal regulations for drugs were to be separated into schedules. Schedule I are substances with a high potential of abuse and are not used for medical purposes such as marijuana (only legal in ten states), heroin, ecstasy, LSD, and bath salts. Schedule II are substances with a high potential of abuse but have accepted medicinal uses. Abusing these drugs can lead to serious physical and mental problems. This can mean Adderall, Ritalin, Oxycontin, and Norco. 

Schedule III are drugs that are less addictive than Schedule I and II. There are accepted medical uses but abusing them can lead to physical health problems and severe mental problems like testosterone and estrogen replacements and medicine with codeine and buprenorphine. Schedule IV are substances with accepted medical uses and low potential of abuse like Ambien, Xanax, and Valium. Schedule V are substances with less potential of abuse than any other schedule.

Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008

The Ryan Haight Act is named after an 18-year-old boy who overdosed on Vicodin he bought at an online pharmacy. Under this act, a clinician cannot prescribe a controlled substance, including buprenorphine, without seeing the patient in-person. There are also regulations on whether or not a physician can prescribe a controlled substance if the original physician is not available.

Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016

This act is the first addiction-related bill to be passed in Washington in 40 years. This bill, passed by President Barack Obama, put $181 million for fighting the current drug overdose epidemic. This bill focused on investing in prevention and expanding access to treatment. It is still up to Congress to determine when and where the money goes. Through this bill, SAMSHA gave out $2.6 million in grants to community organizations to build addiction recovery networks across the country. These laws were only the start of fighting an opioid epidemic still looking for calls to action.

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