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What are some ways that drugs are classified?

Drugs are classified in different ways that are dependent upon the situation. If you are dealing with criminal charges, drugs are usually classified according to the Controlled Substances Act, which divides drugs into Schedule I, II, III, IV and V. In the medical field, these drugs are classified according to their purpose and effects. These include stimulants, narcotics, hallucinogens and depressants.

Why is the classification of drugs important?

From a medical standpoint, the classification of drugs can help doctors to decide how to prescribe them. The schedule of the drug can help pharmacists determine what security protocol must be present when they have the drugs in the pharmacy and when they are distributed in accordance with a prescription. From a legal standpoint, the schedule of a drug plays a role in how the drug charge is handled if a person is accused of committing a prescription drug violation.

What are the legal classifications for drugs?

Schedule I drugs are those that are considered to have no medical purpose but that are highly addictive. Interestingly, marijuana is a Schedule I drug, as is heroin. Schedule II drugs do have some medicinal purposes, but are highly addictive. Narcotics are considered a Schedule II drug. Schedule III drugs are those that are moderately addictive but have a medicinal purpose. Schedule IV and V drugs are considered lower risk for abuse.

For defendants facing drug charges, understanding the points in Maryland law that have to do with the specific drug at the center of the case is important. These points can have a big impact on how the prosecution handles the case and what options your defense attorney can exercise.

Source: Rehabs.com, “Drug Classifications,” accessed April 20, 2016

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