How does the federal government classify dangerous drugs?
While all federal drug crimes are serious, the severity of penalties depends on which federal schedule the drugs at issue fall under. The more dangerous the drug, the more severe the penalties. Generally, federal drug schedules are based on whether there is an acceptable medical use for the drug and how severe the potential for abuse and addiction is.
When there is no acceptable medical use
Some drugs are dangerous and do not have acceptable medical use. Moreover, there is a high potential they will be abused. These drugs are categorized as Schedule I drugs.
Two examples of Schedule I drugs include heroin and LSD. Penalties for crimes involving Schedule I drugs are treated more severely than any other drug schedule.
When there is an acceptable medical use
Some drugs do have an acceptable medical use, even if they are dangerous. Schedule II drugs are those that have acceptable medical use, but there is still a high potential that they will be abused and can lead to addiction. Three examples of Schedule II drugs include cocaine, OxyContin and methamphetamine.
Some drugs have an acceptable medical use, but there is only a moderate potential that they will be abused and lead to addiction. These drugs are categorized as Schedule III drugs. Two examples of Schedule III drugs include anabolic steroids and Tylenol with codeine.
Other drugs have both acceptable medical use and there is only a low potential that they will be abused and lead to addiction. These drugs are categorized as Schedule IV drugs. Three examples of Schedule IV drugs include Tramadol, Xanax, and Valium.
Finally, there are Schedule V drugs. These are substances that only present a low potential for abuse. Schedule V drugs generally contain narcotics. Robitussin AC is an example of a Schedule V drug.
Know your rights
If you are accused of a federal drug crime in California, it is important to understand what schedule the drug falls under. Many people choose to discuss their situation with an attorney so they can better understand the charges they face.