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Federal Drug Classes

October 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Drug Classes

Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, psychoactive drugs have been divided into several “schedules” in order to classify the seriousness of their use, possession, manufacture and distribution. They are organized based on their potential for abuse, risk of addiction, and medical acceptance.

If you’re charged with the manufacture, sale, possession or use of a controlled substance, hiring an experienced, tenacious criminal defense attorney is the most important decision you can make. Denver criminal defense lawyer Nicolas M. Geman understands complex drug laws, including Colorado medical marijuana laws, and will fight to protect your rights.

Schedule I Drugs

Schedule I drugs are the most tightly regulated. These are drugs with high abuse potential and no accepted medical applications.  They are considered unsafe to use even under medical supervision.

This schedule includes drugs like heroin, acid, ecstasy, and marijuana. There is currently a debate over whether marijuana should be reclassified, as an increasing number of states, including Colorado, have passed laws allowing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Schedule II Drugs

Schedule II drugs have equal potential for abuse as Schedule I, but some also possess accepted medical uses.

Most schedule II drugs, like morphine and cocaine, have a high risk for contributing to serious physical and psychological dependence.

Schedule III Drugs

Schedule III drugs have a lower abuse potential than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs. They can lead to moderate dependence and some also have accepted medical uses.

Anabolic steroids and ketamine are two examples of Schedule III drugs.

Schedule IV Drugs

Schedule IV drugs have even lower abuse and dependence risks than the previous schedulesand are approved for medical use. Many sedatives and barbiturates fit into this category.

This classification of drugs is no longer used in Colorado.

Schedule V Drugs

Schedule V drugs have the least abuse and dependence potential as well as accepted medical indications. Cough syrup is a good example of a Schedule V drug.

Some drugs in various forms fall into multiple categories, and some have specific sentencing requirements attached to corresponding charges.

If you’re facing controlled substance charges and want to learn about your legal options, please contact experienced Denver criminal defense attorney Nicolas M. Geman.


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