Prevent Overdose RI
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Controlled Substances

The federal government, through the Controlled Substances Act makes classified drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs, into five distinct categories or schedules depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential. Schedule I drugs have the greatest potential for abuse and have no known medical value. These substances are not approved for medical use by the federal government and no prescriptions may be written for their use. Schedule II have more potential for dependence than schedule V substances.

What Prescriptions for these substances must do

Schedule 1

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.

In some states, including Rhode Island, marijuana is allowed to be used for certain medical conditions. Patients may obtain a “medical marijuana card” issued by the Department of Health which allows use and possession of certain quantities within the context of the medical marijuana act.

Schedule II Drugs

  • Be written and signed by prescriber.
  • Not allow refills.
  • Prescription is not valid after 90 days from the date written.
  • Allow for an oral order only in emergencies, which must backed up by a written order within 7 days- Pharmacist to notify Drug Enforcement Agency if it is not received.
  • Exceptions for Schedule II fax prescriptions as original prescription:
    • Home infusion/IV pain therapy
    • Long Term Care Facilities
    • Hospice/Terminally ill patient
  • Current Quantity Limitations:
    • 30-day supply
    • Practitioners may write up to three separate prescriptions, each for up to a one-month supply, each signed and dated on the date written. Practitioner must write the earliest date each of those subsequent prescriptions may be filled, with directions to the pharmacist to fill no earlier than the date specified on the face of the prescription.

Schedule III Drugs

  • Cannot be written or dispensed for more than 100 dosage units.
  • Prescriptions become void unless dispensed within 180 days from original date written.
  • May be refilled up to 5 times in 6 months.
  • May be communicated orally, in writing, or by fax.

Schedule IV-V Drugs

  • May be written and dispensed for up to a 90 day supply based on directions. No more than 360 dosage units may be dispensed at one time.
  • Prescriptions become void unless dispensed within 180 days of original date written.
  • May be refilled up to 5 times in 6 months.
  • May be communicated orally, in writing, or by fax.

What We Do

The Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline enforces national standards for the prescription of scheduled drugs. We also recommend best practices to limit the addition and unfortunate consequences of over prescribing opiates and other additive medicines.