The global political economy of scheduling

The international–historical context of the Controlled Substances Act
26 February 2004

This article explains the international context of regulation to control addicting substances that gave rise to schedules. It discusses the impact of scheduling decisions on subsequent national drug control legislation and international drug control negotiations, highlighting how the creation of schedules introduced new incentives and rewards into calculations about the national/international commerce in drugs.


In particular, the schedules affected the development and clinical application of psychotropic substances, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic
Substances receives special focus. The roles of governmental representatives, pharmaceutical company interests, medical researchers, physicians,
and pharmacists are highlighted. The article illustrates how debates about scheduling in international treaties over the previous 40 years impacted the creation of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act in the United States and how the constituencies that contributed to constructing the Controlled Substances Act viewed their efforts in a global context.

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