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How do federal drug schedules work?

The federal government classifies illegal drugs according to five different "schedules." These schedules organize drugs into classifications based on the federal government's perceived:

  • Potential for abuse
  • Level of safety
  • Potential for addiction
  • Whether the drug has a legitimate medical purpose.

Here is a closer look at the first three drug schedules:

Schedule 1: These drugs include chemicals that have zero accepted medical use. They also have a high chance for abuse. These are the drugs believed to be the most dangerous and come with, potentially, the highest chance of physical or psychological dependence. These drugs also come with the highest criminal punishments. They include:

  • LSD
  • Heroin
  • Marijuana
  • Methaqualone
  • Ecstasy
  • Peyote

Schedule 2: These drugs are considered dangerous and come with a high potential for abuse through physical and psychological dependency, but they do have a valid medical uses. These drugs include:

  • Meth
  • Cocaine
  • Hydromorphine
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Adderal
  • Ritalin

Schedule 3: These have a low to moderate potential for physical and psychological abuse. They also have a viable medical purpose in some cases:

  • Ketamine
  • Testosterone
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Products with under 90 milligrams of codeine in one dose.
  • Products with under 15 milligrams of hydrocodone in one dose.

If you have been accused of possessing or trafficking the above substances unlawfully, you could face serious penalties if convicted of the crime -- even jail time. As such, accused persons in Minnesota may want to take their criminal defense process seriously, to try and reduce the severity and chances of serious punishment during their criminal proceedings.

Source: Minnesota State University - Mankato, "Controlled Substances Crimes & Penalties," accessed Nov. 17, 2017

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