Like most in Ohio County, you likely understand that to be caught allegedly possessing any type of drugs can be a serious offense. Yet just as is the case with controlled substances, not all drug offenses are created equal. The state has broken the different classifications of drugs down into schedules. The details of these drug schedules can be found in Article 2 of the West Virginia's Uniform Controlled Substances Act.
State officials determine the classifications of different drugs based upon factors such as their potential for abuse, their pharmacological effects, as well as their history and patterns of abuse. The potential for them to produce a physiological dependency is also taken into account, as is the possibility of them serving as a precursor (gateway drug) to a substance already defined on the state's schedules.
The state recognizes five drug schedules in all, with the harmful potential of the substances listed in each ranked in descending order. Both Schedule I and II drugs have a high potential for abuse. The difference between the two categories is Schedule II drugs have medical applications and present the potential for severe psychic or physical dependence. Schedule III substances have a lower potential for abuse than those classified as I or II, and present a moderate to low risk of dependence. Schedule IV and V drugs have a low potential for abuse and limited risks for users developing a dependence.
Common examples of drugs from each category include:
- Schedule I: Heroin, LSD, ecstasy
- Schedule II: Oxycodone, fentanyl, amphetamine, methamphetamine
- Schedule III: Substances with limited amounts of hydrocodone and codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids
- Schedule IV: Diazepam, alprazolam, midazolam
- Schedule V: Cough medicines with minimal amounts of codeine
The offenses associated with the possession, manufacture and sale of these substances increase in seriousness with each schedule.