You may have been prescribed a pain, anxiety, insomnia or stimulant medication that is monitored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

These medications are called ‘controlled substances’ as they require your Doctor to have a specific prescription license to write for these.

The reason why the have to have this special certificate is these medications have potential for causing problems with abuse, dependence and addiction.


  • Drug abuse is the deliberate use of a medication beyond a Doctor’s prescription.
  • Drug dependence occurs when the body develops tolerance to the drug meaning higher doses are needed for the same effect.
  • Drug addiction occurs when a person has drug dependence but also displays psychological effects–compulsive behavior to obtain the drug, craving for the drug, and use despite negative consequences such as legal problems and job loss.

There are four categories that the controlled medications fall into:

  • Schedule II: high potential for addiction–morphine, opium, oxycodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, meperidine, and the stimulants amphetamine, methamphetamine, and methylphenidate.
  • Schedule III: moderate potential for addiction–hydrocodone (vicodin, vicoprofen) and codeine.
  • Schedule IV: low potential for addiction–darvon, darvocet, the anxiety medications xanax, klonopin, valium, ativan, versed, and the insomnia medications halcion and restoril.
  • Schedule V: low potential for addiction–the anti-cough, anti-diarrheal and analgesic preparations with limited amounts of codeine and hydrocodone.

How can your Doctor monitor how a patient has been filling their controlled substance prescriptions?

Your Doctor can login to a website hosted by the Colorado Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (CPDMP) to which all registered Colorado pharmacies must report to when dispensing all schedule II thru V medications.

The pharmacy must supply not only the name of the patient, specific medication and date filled but also the quantity and the Doctor who prescribed it.

A pharmacy can be fined for failure to comply with this requirement.

This website is accessible to all qualified Physicians, Dentists, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Veterinarians, Pharmacists, Podiatrists, and Optometrists practicing in Colorado.

Always be sure to follow the exact directions and warnings written on the bottle of all controlled substances and ask your Doctor if you are concerned about how you are taking any controlled prescription drug.