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How does the federal government establish drug classes?

Most people know that some drugs are considered more dangerous than others by the federal government, and that the government has therefore classified drugs into five different schedules.

Each of the five drug schedules come with increasingly severe punishments and penalties, with Schedule I drugs having the most severe penalties associated with them.

The 5 drug schedules and what they mean

Here is a list of the five different drug schedules, what each category generally means and what drugs are found in them:

Schedule I drugs: This is the category of drugs that comes with the most severe penalties for those with convictions related to them. The government believes that these drugs do not have accepted medical uses, they are unsafe and they come with a high chance of abuse and addiction. Schedule I drugs include peyote, marijuana, ecstasy, LSD and heroin.

Schedule II drugs: This category of drugs, according to the federal government, has a high potential for addiction as they can result in severe physical and psychological dependency. These drugs include Demerol, methadone, Dilaudid, OxyContin, opium, morphine, Percocet, amphetamine, Dexedrine, Adderall, codeine and methamphetamine.

Schedule III drugs: These drugs come with moderate to low chances of physical dependency, but high levels of psychological dependency. They include Tylenol/Codeine, Vicodin, ketamine, Suboxone and anabolic steroids.

Schedule IV drugs: These drugs have a low chance of abuse, but they still come with some dangers. They include Klonopin, Soma, Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Halcion, Restoril and Versed.

Schedule V drugs: These drugs include those that have only small quantities of narcotic substances, like cough syrup that includes a low dose of codeine.

Don't get caught with these substances

Possession of the above categories of substances is illegal. If authorities find you in possession of any drugs -- no matter what the category -- you could find yourself facing arrest. That said, some individuals may possess certain drugs listed above if they have a valid prescription from a doctor. If you've been arrested and accused of illegal drug possession, you should review the facts of your case carefully to determine whether you should try to defend yourself against the charges in court.

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