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Understanding Drug Scheduling

Why Some Substances Come With Harsher Penalties //

If you’ve been arrested for any kind of drug crime, you might be wondering how much the substance you were allegedly involved with will affect your case. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies drugs into 5 schedules based on their acceptable medical use and potential for abuse or addiction.

Essentially, the more dangerous the drug, the harsher the penalties. DEA schedules apply to federal drug crimes, but when it comes to local enforcement, some states make adjustments or create their own schedules.

In this blog, we’ll discuss nationwide schedules and then explore how Idaho drug laws may impact your case.

National Drug Schedules

Schedule I drugs have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Examples include heroin, LSD, marijuana, ecstasy, Quaaludes, and peyote.

Already, you may notice some state-to-state differences and controversy, as marijuana is legal for medicinal use in some states and many states wish to decriminalize the drug. Unfortunately, Idaho is not one of them.

Schedule II drugs are considered dangerous and have a high potential for abuse and addiction but may be used in medical settings. Some Schedule II drugs include Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, OxyContin, fentanyl, Adderall, and Ritalin.

Many of these drugs are legal for prescription use, but you can get arrested for selling or sharing them – even if you didn’t mean any harm. At May, Rammell & Wells, we are experienced in handling prescription drug crimes and clarifying miscommunications.

Schedule III drugs are less dangerous than Schedule I and II drugs and but more dangerous than Schedule IV drugs. They have a moderate or low potential for physical and psychological dependence.

Codeine, ketamine, steroids, and growth hormones are all examples of Schedule III drugs.

Schedule IV drugs have a low potential for abuse and dependence. Benzodiazepines like Xanax, Valium, and Ativan and sleep-aids like Ambien are included in this category.

Schedule V drugs have a lower potential for abuse but still draw some concern. Most Schedule V drugs are used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes, but ingredients can be misused and abused.

Examples include cough syrup with less than 200 milligrams of codeine, such as Robitussin AC, which can produce codeine highs in large doses. When taken in large quantities, antidiarrheals like Lomotil and Motofen can also produce a euphoric high similar to opioids.

Idaho Drug Laws

Idaho schedules drugs in Title 37, Chapter 27 of the Idaho Statutes. The drug schedules are similar to those established by the DEA, but because Idaho is experiencing a prescription drug abuse crisis, fentanyl-related substances are in Schedule I. Other opioids are in Schedule II. The state also has its own Schedule (Schedule VI) for volatile nitrites.

Idaho drug laws (opens a PDF) typically call for felony charges for Schedule I and Schedule II drugs and any activity in the trade of Schedule IV and above drugs can result in felony charges, as well.

Nevertheless, if you have a valid prescription for drugs, you could have possession charges dropped.

When it comes to drug crimes, every situation is different. Our attorneys at May, Rammell & Wells can evaluate your case and pursue the best possible outcome. We may be able to have your charges reduced or clear your name entirely.

Find out what we can do for you by contacting our criminal defense attorneys at (208) 623-8021 or requesting a consultation online.


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