The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) classifies drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to manufacture drugs into five distinct categories, or schedules, based on their accepted medical use in the United States, their potential for abuse, and their likelihood of causing dependence when abused. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous of all drug schedules and have a high potential for abuse and the potential to cause serious psychological or physical dependence. An updated and complete list of the schedules is published annually in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C. F.
R.). The Medical Licensing and Discipline Board enforces national standards for prescribing cataloged drugs. Substances are included in their respective schedules based on whether they have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, their relative potential for abuse, and the likelihood of causing dependence when they are abused. Schedule I drugs have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, have not been proven to be safe for use under medical supervision, and have a high potential for abuse.
Examples of Schedule I drugs include heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote. A controlled substance analog is a substance intended for human consumption that is structurally or pharmacologically similar to a Schedule I or Schedule II substance, or is represented as being similar to a Schedule I or Schedule II substance, and is not an approved drug in the United States. If outside parties want to ensure that a compound is not considered a listed substance or chemical substance, they should write to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section (DRE) of the Diversion Control Division, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152, for an official determination. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples of Schedule II drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin. Schedule III drugs have a lower potential for abuse than substances in Schedules I or II and may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Examples of Schedule III drugs include products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with Codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids such as Depo-Testosterone, and testosterone. Schedule IV drugs have a low potential for abuse compared to substances included in Schedule III and consist mainly of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics.
Examples of Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien, Tramadol. Finally, Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for abuse relative to substances included in Schedules I-IV and consist primarily of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Examples of Schedule V drugs include cough medicines with codeine. Some states allow the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions. However, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law. It is important to note that a substance does not need to be listed as a controlled substance to be treated as a listed substance for criminal prosecution.