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An individual may possess controlled substances only if they are supplied to a person in the following circumstances:

  1. Upon the prescription of a prescriber (physician, dentist, podiatrist, optometrist, veterinarian, or naturopathic doctor) or

  2. Pursuant to a drug order issued by a certified nurse-midwife, a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant, a naturopathic doctor, or a pharmacist.

This does not apply to the drug manufacturer, wholesaler, pharmacy, pharmacist, physician and other healthcare providers that possess controlled substances.

(Business & Professional Code § 4062)

A health clinic is prohibited to dispense a C-II controlled substance. However, if a physician is authorized by the law to dispense a C-II drug, then he or she may dispense it.

(Business & Professional Code § 4184)


California (CA) laws follow the DEA's classification on controlled substances EXCEPT for the following:

  • Anabolic steroids (i.e. testosterone) are C-III under CA laws

  • Camphorated Tincture of Opium (Paregoric) is C-II under CA laws

  • Codeine containing cough products are C-V and require a prescription in CA

Note: Carisoprodol was not a controlled substance under California law, but effective January 11, 2012, carisoprodol is classified as C-IV in California.

(Health & Safety Codes § 11054-11058)


Drugs in schedule I currently have no accepted medical use in the United States. There is little data on the accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision. These drugs may not be prescribed, administered, or dispensed for medical use, but they may be ordered and utilized for research and investigational use. DEA 222/CSOS form may be used to order C-I controlled substance. Examples of C-I substances are marijuana, heroin, LSD, peyote, salvia.


Drugs in schedule II are high potential for abuse drugs but have an accepted medical use. No refills are allowed for C-II controlled substances. Examples include the following:

  • Narcotics, opium, codeine, hydrocodone (Zohydro ER®), hydromorphone (Dilaudid®), morphine (MS Contin®), oxycodone (OxyContin®), dextromethorphan, topical cocaine, methadone (Dolophine®), meperidine (Demerol®), and fentanyl (Sublimaze®, Duragesic®, Actiq®).

  • Stimulants, amphetamine (Dexedrine®, Adderall®), methamphetamine (Desoxyn®), methylphenidate (Ritalin®), Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin®), and lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse®).

  • Depressants, amobarbital (Amytal®), glutethimide, pentobarbital (Nembutal®), and secobarbital (Seconal®).

Note: As of October 2014, although federal law reclassifies hydrocodone combination products (HCPs) (i.e. Norco®) from Schedule III to Schedule II, California law considers HCPs as Schedule III.


Drugs in schedule II have a potential for abuse but are not as high as C-IIs. A DEA form 222 is not required for ordering this controlled substance class. Examples include the following:

  • 1.8 g or less of codeine per 100 ...

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