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A quick guide to drug schedules

The way the federal government classifies drugs can be confusing. There's a lot of misinformation out there ? everyone seems to know someone who knew someone who went down for possession of a miniscule amount of cocaine or marijuana residue. So, let's make the picture a little clearer with an overview of the way the Controlled Substances Act classifies drugs.

The CSA bases its scheduling of drugs on the potential for abuse. In other words, Schedule I drugs are highly addictive and cause psychological or physical dependence. Schedule V drugs, on the other hand, are ones with a much smaller chance for abuse. Let's take a look at how each drug is classified, using the more common names for each drug:

  • Schedule I: ecstasy, marijuana, LSD, heroin, meth and peyote
  • Schedule II: hydrocodone, methadone, meperidine, hydromorphone, methamphetamine, Ritalin, oxycodone, fentanyl, Adderall and Dexedrine.
  • Schedule III: ketamine, testosterone, anabolic steroids and any substance with less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dose.
  • Schedule IV: Soma, Xanax, Darvocet, Darvon, Tramadol, Ambien, Valium, Ativan and Talwin.
  • Schedule V: Lomotil, Motofen, Parepectolin, Lyrica, and any preparation that contains less than 200 mg of codeine per 100 mL.

As you might expect, as the schedule counts down, so, too, do the penalties for being caught with them. If you are facing drug charges for one of the aforementioned substances, you might want to think about speaking with a criminal defense attorney. He or she should have experience dealing with drug crimes and may be able to help you get the charges reduced or even dropped altogether.

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