Many drugs are divided into specific schedules that are included in the Controlled Substances Act. This law was implemented in 1970 by President Richard Nixon in an effort to make the hundreds of drug laws on the books easier to keep track of.
As a result of the CSA, there are five schedules that are based on the medical benefits and potential for abuse. The lower the number, the more addictive the drug and the less likely it is to have any medical benefits.
Surprisingly, marijuana falls into Schedule 1 along with heroin and LSD. This means that there aren’t government recognized medical benefits and that the drug is considered highly addictive.
Cocaine and morphine both fall into Schedule 2. Even though this is the case, you likely won’t find a doctor who will prescribe cocaine to you, but morphine might be prescribed.
Vicodin and anabolic steroids are both in Schedule 3. Some anti-nausea drugs, such as Marinol, are also in this category.
Sleep aids like Ambien are in Schedule 4. Valium and Xanax are also in this one.
Some cough suppressants, such as those that contain codeine, are in Schedule 5. Lyrica also falls into this one.
There are many drug laws that are based on the schedule that the substance falls under. Typically, the penalties are harsher for drugs that are in the lower-numbered schedules. If you are facing drug charges, you should find out if this classification is going to have an impact on your case. You can then move forward planning your defense based on that information.
Source: FindLaw, “The Controlled Substances Act (CSA): Overview,” accessed May 18, 2018