Understanding schedule drug categories

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Schedules (or classes) of drugs - what is the difference between a class I and a class three medication? Why is it harder to get some medications than others?

Prescription drugs are categorized in the United States through the controlled substances act into five schedules, or classes, based upon the governments perspective of their potential abuse.

Schedule 1 (Class I) Drugs are illegal because they have high abuse potential, no medical use, and severe safety concerns; (cocaine for example).

Schedule 2 Drugs (Class 2) Drugs have a high potential for abuse and dependence, an accepted medical use, and the potential for severe addiction. These drugs include opiods based on high dose codeine, Fentanyl, morphine, and oxycodone as well as methamphetamine and the barbiturates.

Schedule 3 (Class 3) Drugs have a lower potential for abuse than drugs in the first two categories, accepted medical use, and mild to moderate possible addiction. These drugs include steroids, low-dose odeine, and hydrocodone-based opiods.

Schedule 4 (Class 4) Drugs have an even lower abuse potential than schedule 3 drugs, accepted medical use, and limited addiction potential. These include most of the anti-anxiety medications like the numerous benzodiazepines, sedatives, sleeping agents, and the mildest of the opiod type medications like darvon and talwin.

Schedule 5 (Class 5) Drugs have a low abuse potential, accepted medical use, and a very limited addiction potential. These consist primarily of preparations containing limited quantities of narcotics or stimulant drugs for cough, diarrhea, or pain.

Schedule 6 (Class 6) Drugs There is established a Schedule VI for the classification of substances which the commissioner of mental health and substance abuse services upon the agreement of commissioner of healthdecides should not  be included in Schedules I though V. The controlled substances are marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinols and synthetic equivalents of the substances contained in the plant or in the resinous extractives of Cannabis and or synethetic substances or derivatives.
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