Drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs are classified into five distinct categories or schedules depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependence potential. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) carefully considers the abuse rate of the drugs and substances before rating the scheduling. Read more below on Schedule I drugs and substances.
Schedule I Substances
The Controlled Substances Act is a law that was enacted in 1970 in order to regulate the production, distribution and use of many types of drugs. It classifies drugs into five different categories, called schedules. As the act explains, each drug is put into a specific schedule based on the following factors:
- Its actual or relative potential for abuse
- Scientific evidence of the substance’s side effects
- Current scientific knowledge of the substance
- The substance history and current pattern of misuse
- The magnitude of the substance’s misuse
- Possible risk to public health
- The substance psychic or physiological dependence
Schedule I substances are those with the following characteristics according to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA):
- The drug or substance has a high potential for misuse
- The drug or substance has no currently accepted medical use
According to federal law, no prescriptions can be written for Schedule I substances. This is important to note as many states pass laws legalizing marijuana for personal, or recreational use. On a federal level Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, marijuana) is still considered a Schedule I drug and cannot be used in a safety sensitive DOT position even with a valid medical marijuana card. There is no such thing as a medical marijuana prescription.
A substance does not need to be listed as a controlled substance by the DEA to be treated as a Schedule I substance for criminal prosecution. Many “designer drugs” mimic or are pharmacologically similar to Scheduled substances and too, holding similar side effects. Each state’s-controlled substance act can slightly differ from the federal controlled substance act to include these compounds for criminal prosecution. Most of the designer drugs too, are not an approved substance for medical use in these acts.
Examples of Schedule I substances include but are not limited to:
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
- Marijuana (cannabis, THC)
- Synthetic Marijuana
- Bath Salts
Courts and law enforcement agencies use these schedules to better understand the potential risk of a drug. They are also used in order to decide on the consequences for illegally manufacturing, selling and using different kinds of drugs. Continue to check our blog for more information regarding the different classification of scheduled substances.
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