What is a Controlled Medicine (Drug)?

Many prescription drugs on the market for medical use are under the Misuse of Drugs legislation.  While under this legislation the prescriptions are considered controlled medicines or drugs.  Examples of the medications under the title include, morphine, pethidine and methadone.

 

Why are these drugs under legislation?

The Misuse of Drugs legislation applies to such medical prescriptions so that it can prevent cases of:

  • Misuse
  • Illegal distribution
  • Limit harm

They way that the legislation prevents such cases is through legal controls that involve how the medications are stored, produced, supplied, and prescribed. While it may seem like the legislation has been put in place to make securing your necessary medications difficult,  it is actually in effect to try and keep the public healthy and safe.  It is not uncommon for these drugs to be acquired and sold illegally on the streets.  The legislation is doing what it can to try and cut down on such misuse.  Oftentimes when sold on the street illegally it will be taken improperly and can cause harmful effects to the user.

 

How are medications selected?

The medical prescriptions that fall under the Misuse of Drugs classification are selected based on their ability to help when used properly for treatment and the extent to which they can harm when misused, such as by those selling on the street.  To classify these prescriptions as clearly as possible there are regulations called “five schedules” that group the medications based on the level of control.  Schedule 1 would be the highest level of control whereas level 5 would be much lower and more lenient.

 

How does regulation effect the user?

The legislation itself doesn’t really have much of an effect on the medical prescription user except when it comes time for picking up the medication from the pharmacist.  Instead of simply paying and leaving, the pharmacist will check for proof of identity, either through your drivers license or some other form of ID, such as a passport.  You will also be asked to sign the back of the prescription forms stating that you received the medication.  Furthermore, the pharmacist also has to record the dispensing of such medications into a specific register.  It is also important that as the user, once you have the medications in your care and at home, they should be stored properly and safely out of the sight and reach of young children and should never be given to anyone the medication is not specifically prescribed to.

 

While controlled medicines may feel like a bit of a hindrance to those wishing to use them legally, it has become necessary to have such legislation to help protect the public from those wishing to misuse these specified medications.  It is unfortunate that these individuals exist but in the end it is in everyone’s best interest that special care is taken in the handling of drugs such as methadone, pethidine and morphine.  These are very serious medications with heavy consequences when not taken properly.