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Why and How Are Drugs Being Divided up Into Schedules?

Feb. 8, 2018

When President Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) into law in 1970, it made it where what used to be in excess of 200 different drug laws were now combined under a single federal statute instead. The CSA is perhaps most well-known among law enforcement, prosecutors and judges for the way it classifies different types of drugs into five different categories, each of which is known as a "Schedule".

Drugs belonging to the category known as Schedule 1 are believed to be devoid of any medicinal properties. Instead, they are believed to be so potentially harmful that those who consume them could either experience life-threatening injury or die as a result of taking them.

As one moves up the scale of drugs to the Schedule 5 drugs, the controlled substances listed with the categories are believed to become less harmful to those who consume them. They're also believed to serve some medical benefits as well.

Among the Schedule 1 drugs, there are LSD, marijuana and heroin. The inclusion of marijuana surprises many, largely because it's been championed in recent years for the medicinal value it reportedly has.

Schedule 2 drugs include morphine and cocaine. Medicines like Marinol, which is used to treat nausea among chemotherapy patients, and the prescription painkiller Vicodin, are two Schedule 3 drugs. Anabolic steroids are another.

Psychotropic drugs like Xanax, Ambien and Valium, often used to treat depression, insomnia and other conditions are just some examples of drugs classified as Schedule 4 drugs. Cough syrups and the nerve pain drug Lyrica are two types of Schedule 5 drugs.

New drugs are always being produced and new reports of contraindications associated with the use of them are being made. Keeping the drugs classified by Schedule allows both federal and state lawmakers to more easily enact new laws by class as opposed to by drug name.

It's important to note that the more potentially dangerous a drug is and the more you're found to be in possession of, the higher the fines you're likely to face and the longer you're apt to spend in jail. In learning more about your alleged offense, a Christiansburg attorney can advise you of your rights in your own case.

Source: FindLaw, "The Controlled Substances Act (CSA): Overview," accessed Feb. 08, 2018