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For many years, the United States has been seeking ways to cut back on the use of addictive drugs. While there's no way to completely do this, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) goes a long way in helping everyone better understand what is legal and illegal in regard to drug use.

This federal drug policy has been in place since 1970 and is designed to regulate the manufacturing and distribution of all types of controlled substances. Furthermore, it categorizes drugs into five classifications.

  • Schedule 1: These are the most harmful substances with examples including LSD, heroin and ecstasy.
  • Schedule 2: Examples include morphine and cocaine.
  • Schedule 3: Examples include Vicodin and all forms of anabolic steroids.
  • Schedule 4: Examples include Valium, Xanax, and Ambien.
  • Schedule 5: Examples include cough suppressants and other drugs that have medical benefits.

With these classifications in place, it's easier for states to enact statutes for things such as sentencing.

Does the classification matter?

These classifications matter for many reasons, including the fact that crimes associated with each type of drug hold a different penalty.

For example, trafficking or distributing a schedule 1 drug could result in prison time and/or a fine of up to $250,000. Conversely, if you're charged with possession of a schedule 5 drug, it'll likely result in a first-degree misdemeanor charge.

If you're charged with any type of drug crime, take the time to learn as much as possible. Doing so will allow you to implement a defense strategy with the idea of avoiding a conviction or preventing the most serious punishment.

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