Office of Research Administration

Federal and State Laws and Regulations and University Policies

The Federal Controlled Substances Act regulates the production, distribution, possession and use of drugs. The Act also categorizes drugs and other chemicals into five groups, or schedules, depending on a particular substance's accepted medical use and potential for abuse and dependency. The table below presents each schedule, with a description and examples of the drugs or chemicals corresponding to each category.

Controlled Substances Schedules

Schedule Description Examples
I No current accepted medical use; high potential for abuse; potential for severe psychological or physical dependence Heroin, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), Ecstasy (MDMA), cannabis
II Accepted medical use; high potential for abuse with severe psychological and physical dependence Morphine, cocaine, codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, pentobarbital
III Accepted medical use; intermediate abuse potential; moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence Codeine (less than 90 mg per dosage unit) in combination with acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen, anabolic steroids, ketamine
IV Accepted medical use; low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence Darvon (propoxyphene), Klonopin (clonazepam), Valium (diazepam), phenobarbital, tramadol
V Accepted medical use; least potential for abuse or dependence Robitussin AC (cough preparations with less than 200 mg codeine per 100 ml), Motofen, Lyrica

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has also adopted and incorporated the five schedules of controlled substances into the state's General Laws. In addition, Massachusetts law categorizes as controlled substances those prescription drugs not federally scheduled (such as Xylazine and Acepromazine), and places those drugs into a separate Schedule VI.

Brandeis University has established a set of guidelines for the use of controlled substances in research ("Policies and Procedures Governing the Use of Controlled Substances in Research"), detailing the processes by which controlled substances are to be procured, stored, used, recorded and disposed of. The Controlled Substances Office oversees the proper handling of these drugs and substances in accordance with the relevant federal and state laws and regulations.

In general, only substances listed on Federal Schedules III to V and Massachusetts Department of Public Health Schedule VI are used at Brandeis University.

Principal Investigators (PIs) using Schedule III–V and VI drugs must have a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration and a Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) license, while PIs using only Schedule VI drugs need only possess a MDPH license.