Understanding the Federal Drug Schedule

In the United States, drug-related crimes can be prosecuted at the state or the federal level. If a case is prosecuted in federal court, the accused individual could face a variety of serious penalties. These penalties may include expensive fines, incarceration, a criminal record, and more. The severity of the consequences for any given offense will depend on the type of crime committed and on the type of controlled substance involved. Certain drugs carry more severe penalties than others. It is important to understand these distinctions and why crimes involving some drugs involve more serious repercussions.

How are drug penalties determined on the federal level?

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) uses an established federal drug schedule to classify different drugs into groupings. This schedule includes five different groupings or classifications, known as "schedules." The higher its schedule, the less dangerous the drug is considered to be.

The federal drug schedule is as follows:

  • Schedule I — These drugs are considered the most dangerous and with the highest potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs include Ecstasy, peyote, heroin, and LSD.
  • Schedule II — Drugs in this category are also dangerous and have a high possibility of abuse. They include methamphetamine, cocaine, methadone, Adderall, and OxyContin.
  • Schedule III — Drugs that fall under Schedule III have a low dependency rate and include anabolic steroids, ketamine, and testosterone.
  • Schedule IV — Substances in this classification include Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Valium, and Ambien. These drugs have low possibility of abuse and dependency but are still considered to cause some negative effects.
  • Schedule V — Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for dependency and abuse and include some cough preparations.

No matter what charge you face and what drug those charges involve, talk to an experienced and dedicated Salem criminal defense attorney who can help you take charge of the situation. Call KRP Law Office, LLC today for tough and dedicated advocacy. We understand what you are going through and we are here to help!