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How are drugs categorized?

As you are likely aware, there are many kinds of drugs that are deemed illegal in this country. Some of these drugs, such as Valium and Xanax are legally available to consumers, but only by prescription. Other drugs, such as heroin or crystal meth are not legal under any circumstances.

The federal government places drugs into classifications and these classifications are known as "schedules." There are a total of five schedules.

So what criteria are used to separate different drugs into the various schedules? Primarily, a drug is placed in a schedule based on its potential for medical use, abuse or addiction. Drugs that fall into Schedule I have a strong potential for abuse and for creating a severe dependence. Currently, according to the federal standards, there are no accepted medical uses for Schedule I drugs. These drugs include heroin, Ecstasy, psychedelics and cannabis.

Schedule II drugs are similar to Schedule I drugs in regard to their potential for abuse and addiction. However, Schedule II drugs have recognized medical uses. These are drugs that can be obtained by prescription. Adderall, methadone and morphine are all Schedule II drugs.

As the classification continues through Schedule V, the potential for addiction and abuse decreases. Drugs found in Schedules III through V also have accepted medical uses. Regardless, the drugs in these schedules are typically illegal to possess without a prescription.

While you may face more serious penalties if you are charged with possessing or distributing a Schedule I drug, any drug charge could cause you to suffer serious long-term consequences. If you have been arrested for a drug-related crime, you may wish to retain the services of an experienced attorney. The attorney could act as your legal representative and work on your behalf to attempt to get you your best possible outcome.

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