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What are the 5 kinds of drug schedules?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2023 | Drug Charges

If someone is caught in possession of, using, selling or manufacturing drugs, then they would likely face possession drug charges. If an illicit drug isn’t found directly on a person but was known, then there could even be a constructive possession charge.

These kinds of charges don’t have just one penalty. Like most criminal charges, there are different severity of punishments. For drug charges, fees and incarceration time may worsen depending on the schedule of drugs found in possession. 

A schedule defines the likelihood of abuse and dependency on given drugs, as well as their known medicinal value. The higher the schedule of the drug, the harsher the sentence for any illegal activity involving that drug. Here’s how they work:

Schedule V

Drugs that have the lowest potential of abuse and nearly no dependency addiction are considered Schedule V. These drugs, such as cough medicine, can typically be purchased over the counter.  

Schedule IV

Schedule IV drugs have a low tendency of abuse. Doctors often prescribe patients with these drugs. For example, Xanax, Valium and Ambien are all Schedule IV drugs.

Schedule III

Drugs with a moderately higher abuse risk and lower physical and physiological dependency are considered Schedule III. These drugs are either doctor prescribed or illicitly manufactured and distributed. Such drugs include ketamine and testosterone.

Schedule II

A Schedule II drug has a high potential for abuse and severe dependence. Cocaine, oxycodone and fentanyl are all considered Schedule II drugs.

Schedule I

The highest degree of addiction, abuse and dependence is a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs include LSD, peyote and heroin. 

A criminal charge involving drug charges can severely harm your future. You may need to reach out for legal guidance to learn about your defense strategies.