You may not realize that drugs have different classifications.
Members of law enforcement categorize drugs based on the medical use of a substance. According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, these drug schedules consider how likely it is that you may abuse a substance. There are five drug schedules.
Schedule V substances are drugs that may legally contain a low amount of opioid analgesics. However, the amount is low enough that medical experts consider these substances to be low-risk. They do not consider there to be much potential for abuse. This schedule includes drugs such as over-the-counter medications that help relieve pain or cough. The next category is Schedule IV substances. These substances also have a low-risk of dependence.
The third category includes Schedule III substances. These substances can legally contain a higher amount of opioid analgesics than Schedule V and IV drugs. Because of this, medical experts consider there to be a moderate potential that you might abuse or become dependent on these substances.
The most serious classifications of drugs are Schedule II and Schedule I substances. There is a higher risk that you may abuse Schedule II substances or become dependent on them. However, some of these substances still have a medical purpose. Schedule I substances, conversely, usually do not have a medical purpose and can also be highly addictive.
Importance of drug scheduling
The drug classification system sometimes determines how law enforcement officials view these substances. Drug charges involving substances of a higher schedule may sometimes carry more serious repercussions. You may face different consequences for charges involving a Schedule I substance instead of a Schedule III substance.