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How does federal law classify controlled substances?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2021 | Drug Charges |

Most people in the Winston-Salem area understand the serious nature of drug crimes. If you are charged with a drug crime and convicted, you could face imprisonment, stiff fines and other penalties. What charges and penalties you face generally depends both on the crime at issue and what schedule the drug at issue falls under.

Federal law divides drugs into five different schedules. Crimes involving Schedule I drugs are more serious than the same crimes involving Schedule II drugs, etc. The following is a brief overview of federal drug schedules.

Schedule I drugs

Schedule I drugs are those that do not have an acceptable medical purpose and have a high propensity for abuse. Heroin, LSD and “Ecstasy” are three examples of Schedule I drugs. It is important to note that unlike many state laws, marijuana is a Schedule I drug under federal law.

Schedule II drugs

Schedule II drugs are those that do have an acceptable medical purpose but still have a high propensity for abuse leading to severe physical or psychological addiction. OxyContin, Dilaudid, morphine and codeine are all examples of Schedule II drugs.

Schedule III drugs

Schedule III drugs are those that have a propensity for abuse that is less than Schedule II drugs leading to moderate to low physical addiction or high psychological addiction. Tylenol with Codeine and ketamine are two examples of Schedule III drugs.

Schedule IV drugs

Schedule IV drugs are those that have a propensity for abuse that is less than Schedule III drugs. Xanax, Valium and Ativan are all examples of Schedule IV drugs.

Schedule V drugs

Schedule V drugs have a propensity for abuse that is less than Schedule IV drugs and generally contain limited amounts of specific narcotics. Robitussin AC is an example of a Schedule V drug.

Understanding drug charges

Penalties for drug offenses are based, in part, on what schedule the drug falls under. This is true for possession, trafficking and manufacturing drug crimes. It is essential that those facing drug charges understand the nature of the charges against them so they can develop a solid defense strategy.