The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) , an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, ultimately enforces drug (prescription and over-the-counter) sales and distribution. The FDA came into existence with the passage of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, which sought to ensure the safety of those items sold within the United States.
Drugs that have a potential for addiction , an acquired physical or psychological dependence on a drug, habituation , the development of an emotional dependence on a drug due to repeated use, or abuse , misuse, excessive or improper use, are also regulated. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the Department of Justice controls these drugs by enforcing the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, more commonly known as the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 . This act regulates the manufacture and distribution of the drugs that can cause dependence and places controlled drugs into five categories that are called schedules: I, II, III, IV, and V. The Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) is the agency of the federal government authorized to enforce drug control.
Physicians who administer controlled substances, also called narcotics, must register with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Washington, DC, and the registration must be renewed every three years. A DEA registration number is assigned to each physician. A physician who leaves the practice of medicine must return the registration form and unused narcotic order forms to the nearest DEA office.
An accurate count of all narcotics must be kept in a record such as a narcotics log, and all narcotics records must be kept for two years. The date and the name of the person to whom the drug was administered, along with the signature of the person administering the drug, are recorded. In some states, physicians who prescribe narcotic drugs but do not administer them, such as dentists and psychiatrists, are also required to maintain narcotics logs and inventory records.
Most states limit the administration of narcotics to physicians and nurses. States may be more restrictive, but not less, than the federal government when regulating the administration of controlled substances. For example, a state may require physicians to keep controlled substances records for a longer period of time than the federal regulations require.
All narcotics must be kept under lock and key. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, due to environmental concerns controlled (narcotic) drugs should only be “wasted” or destroyed down a toilet or drain, if there are specific instructions on the packaging to do this. Two people should be present when controlled substances are destroyed. Non-narcotic drugs should be removed from their original containers and properly disposed of with other medical waste.