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Controlled substances are regulated by both federal and IL laws. If there's an overlap of the federal and IL laws, the IL law has to be more stringent to be valid. The federal and IL laws for controlled substances regulate the manufacturing, distribution, dispensing, and delivery of controlled substances.

Note: In answering questions on the IL MPJE, if the federal and IL laws are found to be different, the questions should be answered with the more stringent law, which usually is the IL state law.

(720 ILCS 570/100)


The Department can add, delete, or reschedule all controlled substances in the Schedules. In making the determination of whether to add, delete, or reschedule, the Department has to consider the following:

  1. The actual or relative potential for abuse.

  2. The scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known.

  3. The state of current scientific knowledge regarding the substance.

  4. The history and current pattern of abuse.

  5. The scope, durations, and significance of abuse.

  6. The risk to the public health.

  7. The potential of the substance to produce psychological or physiological dependence.

  8. Whether the substance is an immediate precursor of a substance already controlled.

  9. The immediate harmful effect in terms of potentially fatal dosage; and

  10. The long-range effects in terms of permanent health impairment.

If any substance is scheduled, rescheduled, or deleted as a controlled substance under Federal law, the Department can object that decision within 30 days from the date of the notice is given to the Department.

(720 ILCS 570/201)

Note: Multiple DEA Schedules exist based on differences in route, form, or strength of the controlled substances. As we have learned in school, controlled substance products that are short acting and quickly absorbed increase tendency for abused use. Hence, these products will be scheduled accordingly. For examples:

  • C-II pentobarbital and secobarbital will be in oral and injectable route of administration (short-acting).

  • C-III combination barbiturates (pentobarbital, secobarbital) will be in suppository dosage form (short acting).

  • C-IV phenobarbital is long acting.


The State of Illinois largely follows federal law. Under the federal law, a controlled substance is scheduled by the DEA into one of five schedules based on its medical utility, abuse potential, and addictive propensities.

Tip to know:

  • For controlled substances, you should be familiar with their brand and generic names. A comprehensive list of controlled substances can be found at:

  • For non-controlled substances, you should be familiar with the most commonly prescribed drugs and their brand and generic names.

  • If a drug is available both prescription and OTC, you should know its prescription strength and OTC strength.


The Department may issue ...

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