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What is a Schedule II drug?


The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) classifies all drugs — including pharmaceutical drugs — via a specific series of “schedules.” These schedules start with Schedule I, which the federal government believes to be the most addictive, dangerous and without medical use, and ends in Schedule V, which are the mildest and least harmful of the drugs. Here, we will focus specifically on Schedule II drugs and the substances found in this category.

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Schedule II drugs come with the high potential for abuse, but not as high as Schedule I. While many of these drugs may have a medical purpose, they also have the possibility of causing a severe physical or psychological dependency. The federal government considers these drugs to be “dangerous.” They include both illicit and pharmaceutical substances:

  • Drugs that contain under 15 milligrams of hydrocodone in each dose
  • Cocaine and cocaine-derived substances
  • Meth
  • Methadone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Meperidine
  • Oxycodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Dexedrine
  • Adderall
  • Ritalin

Individuals who police discover or suspect are in possession of the above drugs could be arrested and charged with crimes. Even though some of these drugs may be legally obtained with a suitable prescription from a licensed physician, if no prescription exists, the unlawful possession of these substances is a serious offense.

New York residents accused of Schedule II drug possession should take the time to coordinate a strategic way of responding to the charges in criminal court. If successful during his or her criminal proceedings, a defendant might be able to reduce his or her chances of conviction and/or reduce the severity of his or her punishments if a conviction is unavoidable.