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How does the federal government classify drugs?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2022 | Drug Charges |

Is a drug crime involving Xanax treated the same under federal law as a drug crime involving heroin? Possibly not. Generally, some drug crimes involving certain drugs are treated more seriously than the same drug crime involving a different drug. This is because the federal government has instituted drug schedules, stating which drugs are considered to be more dangerous than others. The following is an overview of these drug schedules.

Schedule I drugs

Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, ecstasy and others. These drugs are considered to have zero medical use and have a high propensity for being abused. Unlike some state laws, marijuana is also considered a Schedule I drug under federal law.

Schedule II drugs

Schedule II drugs have an accepted medical purpose. However, they are also considered to be highly psychologically and physically addictive and dangerous. Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamine, Dilaudid and OxyContin are all examples of Schedule II drugs.

Schedule III drugs

Schedule III drugs have an accepted medical use. They have a lesser chance of becoming addictive compared to Schedule II drugs but have a greater potential for abuse than Schedule IV drugs. Tylenol with codeine, ketamine and anabolic steroids are all examples of Schedule III drugs.

Schedule IV drugs

Schedule IV drugs do not have much propensity for abuse or addiction, but they are still considered dangerous if trafficked and unlawfully sold. Some examples of Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Valium, and Tramadol.

Schedule V drugs

Schedule V drugs may seem harmless to most of us. However, the trafficking and sale of large amounts of these drugs is against federal law. Schedule V drugs are not as likely to be abused compared to Schedule IV drugs. Schedule V drugs contain small amounts of certain narcotics. Robitussin AC, Lyrica and Parepectolin are all types of Schedule V drugs.

Drug penalties depend on drug types

There are a variety of federal drug crimes, including possession, trafficking and sale. The penalties for these crimes depends in part on what type of drug is at issue. If you are accused of a drug crime you will want to make sure you understand the penalties at stake so you can make informed decisions in your defense.