When it comes to drug use, every drug is different. Not all drugs affect the body the same way and hence not all drugs end up treated the same way by the government. When it comes to federal laws and regulations, certain drugs carry higher penalties than others. The way that you can know which drugs carry what types of penalties is by knowing how the government classifies the drugs. 

The DEA classifies drugs into five categories, known as schedules. The laws classify these drugs based on their medical use and or the drug’s potential for abuse. The biggest contributing factor when it comes to scheduling is the potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs, for instance, are the highest when it comes to abuse potential. Then, as the schedules change, the dependency potential also changes. 

  • Schedule I drugs may include heroin, marijuana, peyote, ecstasy 
  • Schedule II drugs may include hydrocodone, cocaine, methadone, Adderall, methamphetamine 
  • Schedule III drugs may include codeine, testosterone, anabolic steroids, ketamine 
  • Schedule IV drugs may include Xanax, Darvon, Tramadol, Ambien, Valium 
  • Schedule V drugs may include analgesic drugs, antidiarrheal drugs and cough medicine 

When it comes to schedule I drugs, these are drugs that have no accepted medical use and that people are more likely to abuse. Schedule II drugs, however, are dangerous and may lead to severe psychological and even physical dependence. 

The lists of these drugs and their schedules is not a complete list of all drugs. There are also derivatives that may be controlled substances. This is simply a general list of what schedule drugs are.