The different schedules of drugs and how they influence jail time

Law enforcement officials in Missouri treat drugs differently depending on what they refer to as a schedule. Illicit and legal substances are placed into categories which are based on the medical benefit and their perceived risks. The Drug Enforcement Agency creates these schedules and they play a huge part in determining how much time a person can spend in jail if they are in possession of or using certain drugs.

Drugabuse.com defines Schedule I drugs are those that have no medical recognized purpose and high likelihood of abuse. These include peyote, marijuana, LDS, heroin and ecstasy.

Schedule II drugs have a high likelihood of dependence and abuse but do have some medical uses. These may include methamphetamine, cocaine, many opioids and prescription stimulants.

Tylenol with codeine, steroids and ketamine are examples of Schedule III drugs. These have a lower risk of dependence and abuse than those in Schedule II.

Schedule IV refers to drugs with a low risk of dependence and abuse. Tramadol, Soma and many benzodiazepines fall into this category.

Schedule V drugs have the lowest risk and include things like cough medication with codeine and Lyrica. The categories get higher as the drugs pose a lower risk to the user and the general population.

While states may treat different drugs differently, these schedules are used to determine penalties on a federal level. Those found with illegal drugs may face consequences such as heavy fines, community service, time in federal prison or jail or probation.

To keep drug users alive and prevent drug misuse, the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services has created a Good Samaritan Law. This allows for an individual to seek medical attention for a drug overdose for themselves or for another person without facing some legal repercussions.