The Georgia Controlled Substances Act was enacted in 197 at which time the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act was repealed. The Georgia Controlled Substances Act was contained in former GCA Title 79A. With the enactment of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.), the Georgia Controlled Substances Act was incorporated in the criminal code of Georgia, effective November 1, 1982. This Act is now contained in chapter 13 of Title 16 of the O.C.G.A. The Dangerous Drug Act,provisions dealing with the sale or possession of model glue, and other general provisions dealing with drugs were also incorporated in this chapter of the Georgia criminal code.
The statutory framework of the Act will be dealt with first, followed by a brief discussion of related criminal provisions dealing with the licensing of pharmacists and pharmacies, dangerous drugs, model glue, and the Georgia Drug and Cosmetic Act.Because of the prevalence of prosecutions under the Act, this topic contains a detailed look at the case law interpreting the provisions of the Act. This topic concludes with a discussion of the punishment provisions of the Act and of the civil sanctions that may be imposed for a violation of the Act.
II Controlled Substances Act
A Schedules of Controlled Substances
The Act contains five schedules of controlled substances,each of which collects substances which are similar in their potential for abuse, medical importance and level of safety. Schedule I includes the most dangerous drugs and Schedule V the least dangerous. Section 16-13-30(a) enacts a broad prohibition of the purchase, possession, or control of any controlled substance. Section 16-13-30(b) prohibits the manufacture, delivery, distribution, dispensing, administration, possession with intent to distribute and sale of any controlled substance.
Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision schedule I includescertain opiates, opium derivatives, and hallucinogens (including LSD, mescaline, peyote phencyclidine, and tetrahydrocannabinol).
Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, have currently accepted medical uses in treatment in the United States, and, if abused, may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.Included in Schedule II are opium and opiates (including raw and powdered opium, codeine and morphine), cocaine, coca leaves, certain opiates (including methadone), stimulants (including amphetamine) and depressants (including amobarbital, secobarbital and pentobarbital).
Schedule III drugs have a potential for abuse less than those in Schedules I and II, have currently accepted medical uses in the United States, and, if abused, may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.Included in Schedule III are certain stimulants, certain depressants, substances containing limited narcotic concentrations, and anabolic steroids.
Schedule IV contains drugs with a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs in Schedule III, with currently accepted medical uses in the United States, and, if abused, may, relative to Schedule III drugs, lead to limited physical or psychological dependence.
Schedule V includes drugs with a low potential for abuse relative to Schedule IV drugs, with currently accepted medical uses in the United States, and, relative to Schedule IV drugs, if abused, may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence.Substances with very limited narcotic concentrations are included in Schedule V.
The specific drugs included in each schedule are listed in §§ 16-13-25 through 16-13-29. While the General Assembly enacted the original listings and has since modified them,the Act also provides for new inclusions or rescheduling through administrative action of the Board of Pharmacy. While the Supreme Court of Georgia, in Sundberg v. State,held a similar delegation of authority in a prior drug statute to be unconstitutional under the State Constitution,the delegation under the current Act has not yet been successfully challenged. In Harmon v. State,the court avoided ruling on the question because the defendant was convicted of the sale of a substance which had not been affected by any action of the Board of Pharmacy. It should be noted that, unlike the statute struck down in Sundberg, § 16-13-22 of the current Act contains a detailed list of factors which are to be considered by the Board of Pharmacy in rescheduling or adding substances. The 4-3 Sundberg decision stressed the fact that there were no guidelines in the delegation provision of that statute.