The DEA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice. Their mission is to enforce the Controlled Substances Act. In pharmacy, they monitor a closed system of distribution for controlled substances. What that means is that all individuals and companies handling controlled substances are required to keep accurate inventories and records of every transaction involving those controlled substances.
In preparation for the PTCB or ICPT exam, it's recommended to become familiar with Controlled Substance Schedule Definitions:
D.E.A. Schedule definitions:
Schedule I - No accepted medical use. Extremely high potential for abuse. High potential for psychological and physical dependency. A few examples are: Marijuana, Heroin and MDMA (Extasy).
Schedule II - Does have medical use. High potential for abuse. Relative potential for psychological and physical dependency. A few examples are: Oxycodone, Codeine and Ritalin.
Schedule III - Does have medical use. Moderate abuse potential exists, but less than Sch II. Examples are: Vicodin and Tylenol w/Codeine.
Schedule IV - Abuse potential exists, but less than Sch III. Examples are: Ambien, Darvocet and Lorazepam.
Schedule V - Lowest abuse potential of the DEA Sch. Abuse potential exists, but less than Sch IV. Example: Cough medicine w/codeine or anti-diarrheals.
D.E.A. Form 222 - must be used whenever Sch I or II drugs are bought, sold or transferred between pharmacies or qualified distributors. The forms are only available through the DEA and errors are not acceptable on the form. In the case of an error, the form must be voided and kept on file and a new form used. For Sch III - V, a form 222 is not necessary.
Refills on scheduled drugs are explained on the
Prescription Order Abbreviations page.
Two very important things to remember are: 1) there are no refills allowed on Sch II drugs and 2)Sch II drug prescriptions cannot be "called in" or transmitted electronically unless it is an absolute emergency and certain criteria is met.