Under the Controlled Substances Act, oxycodone is a Schedule II drug because it "has a high potential for abuse," because it "has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions," and because use of the drug "may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence." According to Section 829 of the Act, Schedule II drugs must be dispensed only with the written prescription of a practitioner except in certain situations (e.g., "dispensed directly by a practitioner, other than a pharmacist," or "dispensed upon oral prescription (i.e. telephone)" in "emergency situations only"). Furthermore, Section 829 specifies that prescriptions for Schedule II drugs cannot be refilled.
As of April 2010 an "abuse resistant", controlled release formulation of Oxycontin was approved for sale in the United States. The reformulated OxyContin is intended to lessen the ability to tamper with the opioid medication — from being cut, broken, chewed, crushed or dissolved, however, there is no evidence that the reformulation of OxyContin is less subject to misuse, abuse, diversion, overdose, or addiction. The abuse resistant formulation is recognizable by a pill marking "OP" on one side and the milligrams of oxycodone contained within the pill on the other. The previous formulation has an "OC" marking replacing the "OP" of the new formulation.