An overview of the five federal drug schedules
When it comes to drug crimes not all drugs are treated the same. Federal law classifies drugs into five different schedules for the purposes of prosecuting drug crimes. The most serious crimes involve Schedule I drugs, going down to Schedule V drugs. The following is a brief overview of federal drug schedules.
- Schedule I: Schedule I drugs are those that do not have a current medical use and have a high propensity for being abused. Some examples of Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD and ecstasy. Note that under federal law marijuana is a Schedule I drug.
- Schedule II: Schedule II drugs are those that do have a current medical use but have a high propensity for being abused leading to severe psychological or physical addiction. Vicodin, OxyContin cocaine, methamphetamine and Diluadid are all examples of Schedule II drugs.
- Schedule III: Schedule III drugs have a moderate to low propensity for psychological or physical addiction. The potential for abuse of Schedule III drugs is greater than Schedule IV drugs but less than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs. Some examples of Schedule III drugs include Tylenol with codeine and anabolic steroids.
- Schedule IV: Schedule IV drugs are those that have a low propensity for abuse and a low risk of addiction. Xanax, Valium and Tramadol are all examples of Schedule IV drugs.
- Schedule V: Schedule V drugs are those that have a lower propensity for Schedule IV drugs and that also contain a limited amount of narcotics. Some examples of Schedule V drugs include Robitussin AC and Parepectolin.
Drug crimes and schedules
The consequences for certain drug offenses depends on what schedule the drugs fall under. For example, the trafficking of Schedule I drugs will involve more jail time and greater fines than the trafficking of Schedule III drugs. For this reason, it is important to understand both the drug crime you are accused of as well as the schedule the alleged drugs fall under. With this information you can make decisions that are in your best interests.