A Look at Schedules of Controlled Substances

The Controlled Substances Act is designed to regulate certain types of medications, even those that are legal such as prescription drugs. There are five schedules the drugs may fall under, which is based on likelihood of addiction and abuse.

Schedule of Controlled Substances

The following is an explanation of each of the schedules when it comes to classifying controlled substances, including examples of prescription drugs: 

  • Schedule I Drugs – have the highest chance of being abused and has no currently accepted medical use (ex. marijuana);
  • Schedule II Drugs – high chance of being abused and depended upon, but may be acceptable for medical use, but may be very restricted (ex. Morphine);
  • Schedule III Drugs – moderate chance of being abused or depended upon and has medical use (ex. Codeine);
  • Schedule IV Drugs – low risk of abuse and dependency and has medical use (ex. Xanax); and
  • Schedule V Drugs – lowest risk of abuse and dependency and has medical use (ex. cough medicine with Codeine).

Controlled substances are regulated by federal and state law. Because of this, even legal prescriptions may be illegal if sold without a prescription. As a result, the seller could end up serving time in prison and pay fines. Those that are charged may wish to seek legal counsel.