Have You Been Charged With A Serious Crime?

Understanding how the Controlled Substance Act classifies drugs

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2024 | Drug Crimes

If someone is facing drug possession charges, their sentence may be lighter or harsher depending on the kind of substance they possess. To determine how harshly a criminal drug possession charge should be, drugs are categorized by schedules. Schedules are determined by the Controlled Substance Act, which classifies drugs based on a few factors, including the substance’s medical use and potential for abuse. 

Here is what you should know about drug schedules:

What are the 5 drug schedules?

Drugs are categorized into one of five schedules. If a drug has limited medical uses and a high tendency to cause abuse, it is often placed into a higher schedule. Substances with very low addiction tendency and can be used in the medical field are categorized as a lower schedule. These five schedules include:

  • Schedule V: Common forms of medicines, such as cough medicine, which can be bought over the counter.
  • Schedule IV: Drugs that may be prescribed by doctors, including Valium and Ativan.
  • Schedule III: Substances administered in medical facilities, such as steroids and ketamine. 
  • Schedule II: Drugs with very little medical uses, including cocaine, meth and fentanyl. 
  • Schedule I: Substances with high addiction rates, which are often illegally manufactured, such as LSD, heroin and peyote. 

The typical exception to possessing a higher-schedule drug is if someone has a prescription. Otherwise, manufacturing, distribution or possession of a scheduled drug can lead to serious criminal penalties, including incarnation and fines.

If you are accused of possessing, distributing or manufacturing illicit drugs, then you likely need a strong legal defense to protect yourself from life-changing criminal charges.