Controlled Drug Classifications

The below classification system refers to drugs that are restricted in the United States. The DEA and FDA are the federal agencies that enforce and modify drug laws. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 allowed for research and restriction of drugs based on their potential for abuse and dependence. Controlled substances are either illegal in entirety, or must have proper documentation to prove they are medically necessary. If a person is in control of illegal drugs or controlled drugs without the proper authorization and documentation they are subject to legal penalties.


Schedule 1 Drugs – Deadliest drugs, causing addiction, adverse side effects, and have no accepted medical benefits. (Examples include Heroin, LSD, Marijuana, and Ecstasy.)

Schedule 2 Drugs – Drugs that have high abuse and addiction potential. Have an accepted medical use, and are only available by prescription. (Examples include Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Methadone, Oxycodone, Dilaudid, Adderall, and Ritalin.)

Schedule 3 Drugs – Drugs with moderate potential for dependence or abuse. Have accepted medical use, and are only available by prescription. (Examples include Tylenol with Codeine of less than 90mg, Anabolic Steroids, Testosterone, and Ketamine.)

Schedule 4 Drugs – Drugs with low abuse potential. Have accepted medical use, and are available only by prescription. (Examples include Xanax, Soma, Ambien, Tramadol, Valium, Darvocet, and Ativan.)

Schedule 5 Drugs – Drugs with lowest potential for abuse and dependence. Have accepted medical uses, are available by prescription, or over the counter in some cases. (Examples include Robitussin AC, Motofen, Lyrica, and Lomotil.)controllled-drug-14