150 words agree or disagreeThe Controlled Substance Act – CSA, is a government created and run program that was created to address drug abuse. The main functions of the program are to improve the ma

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150 words agree or disagree

The Controlled Substance Act – CSA, is a government created and run program that was created to address drug abuse. The main functions of the program are to improve the manufacturing, importation, exportation, distribution and dispensing of controlled substances. All distributers, manufacturers and dispensers, such as hospitals and pharmacies, must be registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency – DEA. This makes it possible for the DEA to trace the controlled drugs from the manufacturer down to the patient receiving them (Gabay, 2013).

Controlled substance are any drugs or products that can easily be abused. This means any drugs or medications that can create an addiction by the person using them. The CSA has created 5 levels or schedules to categorize the drugs by abuse potential – Schedule I being highly probable to Schedule V being a low probability of abuse (Gabay, 2013). When the DEA is determining the scheduling of a particular drug, there are several factors that are considered such as – the probability of abuse, if there is a scientifically based pharmacological effect, current scientific knowledge about the drug, any history or patterns of abuse, the range, length and significance of the documented abuse, if there are any risks to public health, if the drug creates either a mental or  physiological dependence on it, and if the substance is related to an already scheduled controlled substance (DEA, n.d.).

According to Gabay (2013), the definitions of each schedule are:

Schedule I

– a drug that has a high abuse potential but has no accepted medical use and may not be prescribed, given or administered under any situation such as heroin, ecstasy, and marijuana.  ** Even though some states have passed laws regarding medical and recreational use of marijuana, under federal law, it remains a Schedule I substance.

Schedule II

– a drug that has a high abuse potential as well as a physical or mental dependency risk but has a medical use and may be dispensed such as morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl.

Schedule III

– a drug that has a medium abuse potential such as codeine in combination with aspirin or ibuprofen, anabolic steroids and ketamine.

Schedule IV

– a drug that is a lower risk but still has an abuse potential such as diazepam, butorphanol and phenobarbital.

Schedule V

– any drugs with a low risk of abuse such as Robitussin AC and Phenergan with codeine.

The DEA is constantly revising, adding and removing drugs off the schedules. Their decisions are based on the behavior of the drug in relation to public health and risk. A dispenser’s license or approval may get revoked at any time or not renewed at all if the DEA feel the situation is being abused. At this point, I don’t think the CSA needs to be revamped but rather the nation’s overall dependency on pharmaceutical drugs needs to be looked at.

Explain how each of the following laboratory tests or analyses is used in the process of drug identification:

Chromatography –

this test separates the individual components of the substance. The substance is dissolved in a solvent then it is sent into various chambers, tubes and coils. Each component moves at a different rate of speed thus causing the separation of ingredients. When a compound leaves the separating device, it is detected and the time it took from start to finish is recorded. The time is then compared to a reference standard of various drugs. Some drugs have the same running time, so this test is not specific to a drug but rather a generalized presence (WSCLB, n.d.).

Mass Spectrometry –

this test is used in conjunction with the chromatography test discussed above. After the substances have been separated, each is sent to the mass spectrometry. When the substance enters the unit, it is met with beams of electrons which cause the compound to further divide into a characteristic pattern. This test is highly specific because each drug has a very unique division pattern and can be identified by such (WSCLB, n.d.).

Spectrophotometry –

this test involves the use of ultra violet or infrared light to test how the substance absorbs or reflects the light waves. Depending on the results, this test will give a general indication of a drug (Watson, S. 2019).

Microcrystalline Tests –

this test involves adding reagents to the substance and observing the formation of crystals. Once the crystals have formed, they are then compared to a reference standard based on their shape, size, color and arrangement. This test is very specific as each crystal formation is unique to a specific drug and works best on separated components rather than a mixture of an unknown (Harper, Powell & Pijl, 2017).

Color Test –

this test involves adding one or more reagents to the substance and watching for a color change. If the color changes, there may be either one or more drugs present in the substance. This test is used as a screening too since it is not specific. It can identify the presence of a drug but not a specific one. This test is used primarily by law enforcement officers when they obtain an unknown substance (WSCLB, n.d.).


Gabay, M. (2013). The federal controlled substances act: schedules and pharmacy registration. Hospital pharmacy, 48(6), 473-4. Retrieved from


United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (n.d.) The Controlled Substance Act. Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/controlled-substances-act

Wisconsin State Crime Laboratories Bureau. (n.d.). Drug Identification Unit. Retrieved from


Watson, S. (2019). How Forensic Lab Techniques Work. Retrieved from https://science.howstuffworks.com/forensic-lab-technique2.htm

Harper, L., Powell, J., & Pijl, E. M. (2017). An overview of forensic drug testing methods and their suitability for harm reduction point-of-care services. Harm reduction journal, 14(1), 52. doi:10.1186/s12954-017-0179-5. Retrieved from


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