The FDA classifies drugs into five categories. The categories are based on risk and harm. Drugs which can be very harmful to a person and also pose very little health benefits are classified as Schedule I drugs. Drugs are identified into one of the five categories based on whether the drug has an accepted medical use in the United States and the drugs potential for addiction.
A Schedule I controlled substance (drug), has no current accepted medical use in the United States. Schedule I drugs also have a high potential for abuse. The most common Schedule I drugs are Heroin, LSD, marijuana (cannabis), ecstasy and peyote. No prescription can be written for a Schedule I drug- they are illegal per se.
Schedule II drugs are controlled substances that have a high potential for abuse, but these drugs have a recognized medical benefit. Example of popular schedule two drugs are Dilaudid, Methadone, Oxycodone (Percocet), Fentanyl, Morphine, Opium, Codeine, Adderall, Methamphetamine, Ritalin and Cocaine.
Controlled substances in the Schedule III category have a less potential for abuse than Schedule II drugs. In other words, it is easier to get “hooked” on a Schedule II drug than it is to get addicted to a Schedule lll drug. Schedule III drugs have a low danger of physical dependency but a high danger of psychological dependency. Schedule III drugs include, Hydrocodone (less than 15 mg. Vicodin), Codeine (less than 90 mg. Tylenol), and steroids.
Schedule IV drugs are controlled substances that have a lower health risk than Schedule III drugs. Examples of Schedule IV drugs are Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Versed.
Schedule V drugs are the weakest drugs. This category includes cough medicine and over the counter drugs. Methadone is not a Schedule I drug. Methadone is available by prescription as Dioxin. Dioxin is used to treat ADHD and severe obesity. Cocaine is also not a Schedule I drug because it has a medically accepted use as a topical anesthesia.
In many ways, the scheduling of controlled substances does not make a lot of sense in terms of health risks. Cocaine and Methadone are Schedule II drugs while LSD and marijuana are Schedule I drugs. Who was the genius who determined that marijuana poses a greater health threat than Cocaine or Methadone?