Drugs, substances, and certain chemicals used to make drugs are classified into five (5) distinct categories or schedules depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential. The abuse rate is a determinate factor in the scheduling of the drug; for example, Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence. As the drug schedule changes– Schedule II, Schedule III, etc., so does the abuse potential– Schedule V drugs represents the least potential for abuse. A Listing of drugs and their schedule are located at Controlled Substance Act (CSA) Scheduling or CSA Scheduling by Alphabetical Order. These lists describe the basic or parent chemical and do not necessarily describe the salts, isomers and salts of isomers, esters, ethers and derivatives which may also be classified as controlled substances. These lists are intended as general references and are not comprehensive listings of all controlled substances.

Please note that a substance need not be listed as a controlled substance to be treated as a Schedule I substance for criminal prosecution. A controlled substance analogue is a substance which is intended for human consumption and is structurally or pharmacologically substantially similar to or is represented as being similar to a Schedule I or Schedule II substance and is not an approved medication in the United States. (See 21 U.S.C. §802(32)(A) for the definition of a controlled substance analogue and 21 U.S.C. §813 for the schedule.)

(The information above is from the DEA website and downloaded on September 15, 2019.)

Schedule I

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:

  • Ecstasy
  • GHB
  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • Peyote

Schedule II

Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are:

  • Adderall
  • Cocaine
  • Demerol (meperidine)
  • Dexedrine
  • Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Morphine
  • Opium
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin or Percocet)
  • PCP
  • Ritalin
  • Vicodin (Hydrocodone)

Schedule III

Schedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Schedule III drugs abuse potential is less than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs but more than Schedule IV. Some examples of Schedule III drugs are:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Ketamine
  • Testosterone
  • Tylenol with codeine
  • Xanax

Schedule IV

Schedule IV drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Some examples of Schedule IV drugs are:

  • Ambien
  • Ativan
  • Darvocet
  • Darvon
  • Soma
  • Talwin
  • Tramadol
  • Valium
  • Xanax

Schedule V

Schedule V drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes. Some examples of Schedule V drugs are:

  • Cough medicines with codeine
  • Lomotil
  • Lyrica
  • Motofen
  • ParepectolinLearning Objectives

QuickStart Comments

Ironically, only drugs deemed to have no currently accepted medical use are classified as Schedule I – which includes “medical” marijuana.

The word “marijuana” is a Spanish street-name for cannabis. Other drugs listed on the DEA schedules are listed by their scientific name with reference to their commercial brand name.

The female part of the marijuana plant has the highest potency. Consequently, many people in the industry refer to marijuana plants as “ladies” or other female-related euphemisms such as “Mary Jane.”


QuickStart Guide to Accounting for Cost of Goods Sold Copyright © 2019 by reecejr1 and Reece B. Morrel, Jr. JD MBA CPA CGMA AEP®. All Rights Reserved.

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