Drug classification

Originally Posted On: Drug classification

What Are Drug Classifications?

Drug classification is a method of organizing drugs into different classes. Categorizing drugs in this manner help patients and doctors better understand the effects of the drug and the risks involved when consuming them. This method can also help medical professionals effectively provide treatment for drug addictions.

Classifying drugs by chemical similarities is highly beneficial since chemically similar drugs often tend to have similar effects and risks. An individual with an addiction to a specific drug is also more likely to abuse another drug of an identical chemical structure. Additionally, understanding the chemical properties of each drug can also be beneficial when treating health conditions effectively.

There are considerable debates on how drugs should be classified, even amongst experts, which has led to drugs being classified differently depending on each country. Many experts classify drugs based on their physical and psychological effects. For instance, some drugs make users active and energetic, while others make users feel relaxed and calm. When classified in this manner, drugs may not contain any chemical similarity or hold no bearing towards its legal or illegal nature. However, they may often overlap one another.

Some countries classify drugs according to their legal nature. This system mainly focuses on the drug’s purpose or use, legal status, and the penalties involved in its procession, distribution, and manufacture. During such legal classification, drugs are generally categorized based on the perceived medical value and risks and dangers associated with the drug. Due to these differences of opinions, it is quite impossible to come up with a definite set of drug classifications. However, some of the most common drug classifications are given below.

Drug Classifications Based on Legal Definitions

The Federal Government declared the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 as a response to the growing drug epidemic. Five classifications or schedules were established under the act, and the drugs that are placed under a specific schedule are determined based on key factors such as the legitimacy and value for potential medical use and the potential for abuse and addiction. However, there may be some exceptions due to consular agreements. The US may class certain drugs into a particular schedule in accordance with diplomatic agreements, for example, the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.