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What are Drug Schedules?

What are Drug Schedules?

Each schedule has been determined based on addiction potential and associated medical use

With all the talk about drugs in the news nowadays, you might be hearing a lot about drug schedules, but aren’t really sure what that means. You are not alone, as many people have the same question – what are drug schedules?

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), drug schedules are simply classes of drugs that are determined based on a substance’s “acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential.” There are five different schedules (or classes) based on these factors.

The Schedules

Each schedule has been developed by the DEA based on the above listed criteria. These five schedules are as follows:

  • Schedule I – Those drugs listed under Schedule I include (but are not limited to) heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Science has found no medical benefits of these drugs, and in addition, studies show that they are highly addictive and dependency potential is probable.
  • Schedule II – Schedule II drugs do not have as high of a potential for dependency as Schedule I drugs, however are still addictive in their own right. Drugs in this schedule include cocaine, methamphetamines, oxycodone, Adderall, Demerol and fentanyl.
  • Schedule III – Ketamine, anabolic steroids, and Vicodin are some of the most common Schedule III drugs, and these substances have moderate to low potential for physical or psychological dependency. Many Schedule III drugs can be used safely, but only when used as directed.
  • Schedule IV – Some of the most popular prescription drugs are classified in Schedule IV, including Xanax, Darvon, Valium, Ativan and Ambien. These drugs have low potential for abuse, and are frequently prescribed for the treatment of a number of disorders. While potential for abuse is low, it is still possible.
  • Schedule V – Schedule V drugs are some of the safest drugs on the market, primarily because it is very rare to become addicted to one of them. Some of these substances include cough medicine, Lyrica and Lomotil.

Each schedule has been determined based on the substance’s addiction potential and associated medical use. It is important to understand how and why these schedules are put in place, primarily because it can help identify the most dangerous drugs from the least dangerous drugs. In addition, drug schedules have done more than just draw a line in the sand in regards to safety. Trying to obtain drugs in specific schedules can be increasingly complicated based on their severity; therefore, these schedules have diverted the wrong people from obtaining these drugs.

Do You Want to Know More about Drugs?

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