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What are the federal drug classifications?

Federal drug classifications often differ from state drug laws; therefore, it is important for New Hampshire residents to be aware of how drugs are classified under the federal system. Indeed, if an individual is arrested for a drug crime that involves the postal system, multiple states or if they are arrested on federal property -- like a national park -- then they could be tried in federal court where these classifications apply.

In the federal system, Schedule I drugs include substances that are believed to have the highest potential for addiction and abuse. Another qualification is that there is no accepted medical use for the substances. Schedule I drugs include cannabis, heroin, ecstasy and psychedelics like mushrooms, LSD and DMT.

Schedule II drugs -- like Schedule I -- also are believed to have a high potential for addiction and abuse; however, these drugs also have accepted medical uses. These drugs are often pharmaceuticals and individuals can get a prescription for them. Examples of these drugs include methadone, morphine, Ritalin, Adderall and many other kinds.

Schedule III drugs are moderately addictive, and there is moderate chance of them being abused. They also have accepted medical uses and include substances like ketamine, anabolic steroids, marinol and other varieties of substances. Schedule IV have a low potential for dependence and abuse, and they are used in medicine. Examples include Xanax, Ambien, Valium and difenoxin. Finally, we come to Schedule V drugs, which have the lowest potential for being abused, and they include cough syrups with codeine and ezogabine.

New Hampshire residents will want to keep these federal drug classifications in mind. Illegal possession, sale, smuggling or trafficking of these substances and prescription drugs could result in an arrest. While everyone accused of such crimes will be entitled to a criminal defense, and some of those accused might have a plausible defense that will hold up in court, it is best to avoid the arrest in the first place.

Source: FindLaw, "Drug Classifications" accessed Jan. 27, 2015

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