Drug schedules are a spectrum that law enforcement and the courts use to determine the severity of a person’s drug-related crime. Substances are divided into one of five categories based on the health risks they pose and if they can be used medicinally at all. The lower the schedule number, the greater the risk and steeper the penalties for possessing or selling substances in those categories. Here’s a breakdown of each schedule with the risk level and examples of substances in each.
Schedule I drugs include any substances that are incredibly dangerous. These drugs have zero medicinal benefits, and those who use them are far more likely to become addicted and dependent on them. Heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote are examples of Schedule I drugs.
These substances are slightly less dangerous than Schedule I drugs, but they still pose high risks to those who use them. There is still a great chance of abusing these drugs, though these substances may have some medical advantages and uses. Cocaine, opioids, meth, Adderall, and Ritalin are all classified under this category.
Right in the middle of the spectrum, Schedule III substances pose a much less great risk of addiction and abuse than the previous two. However, there are still chances for dependency greater than that of Schedule IV and V drugs. Schedule III drugs include Tylenol with codeine, steroids, and ketamine.
This category begins to get more into prescription drugs or drugs that are mainly used for medical purposes that can still be abused. They present a lower risk for physical and psychological dependency. Included are Xanax, Soma, and Tramadol.
Lastly, Schedule V drugs are those that pose the lowest risks to the user and the least likely chances of abuse. Often, these drugs are used medicinally to treat and relieve things like diarrhea, coughs, and pains. Lyrica and Lomotil fall into this category.
How Schedules Affect Sentencing
An offender’s sentence is partially determined by the severity of the drug they carried. Someone who was in possession of a Schedule I drug will likely receive a greater sentence than someone in possession of a Schedule IV substance. In addition to that, the court may take into account the offender’s history with drug use and if they are a subsequent abuser. If you need help in court, contact a lawyer, like a drug lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright, to discuss your rights and chances at a minimal sentence.