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CSA Schedules

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on June 17, 2020.

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 is the federal U.S. drug policy under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids and other chemicals is regulated.

The CSA was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on October 27, 1970. The addition, deletion or change of controlled substance schedule of a medicine or other chemical may be requested by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or from any other party via petition to the DEA.

The DEA implements the CSA and may prosecute violators of these laws at both the domestic and international level.

Within the CSA there are five controlled substance schedules at the federal level (Schedules I-V) that are used to classify drugs based upon their:

  • abuse potential
  • accepted medical applications in the U.S.
  • safety and potential for addiction

Individuals who order, handle, store, and distribute controlled substances must be registered with the DEA to perform these functions. They must maintain accurate inventories, records and security of the controlled substances.

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) schedule information displayed applies to substances regulated under federal law. There may be variations in CSA schedules between individual states.  

Schedule I

  • The drug, substance, or chemical has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug, substance, or chemical has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S.
  • There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug, substance, or chemical under medical supervision.

Examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis) at the Federal level, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (Ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.

List of schedule 1 drugs

NOTE: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, marijuana) is still considered a Schedule 1 drug by the DEA, even though some U.S. states have legalized marijuana for personal, recreational use or for medical use. State that have not authorized marijuana for personal, recreational or medicinal use still may have differing controlled substances laws from the Federal law.

Read More: Marijuana: Effects, Medical Uses & Legalization

Schedule II / IIN

  • The drug, substance, or chemical has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug, substance, or chemical has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S. or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.
  • Abuse of the drug, substance, or chemical may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence, and are considered dangerous.

Examples of Schedule II narcotics include: hydromorphone (Dilaudid), methadone (Dolophine), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet), and fentanyl (Sublimaze, Duragesic).  Other Schedule II narcotics include: morphine, opium, codeine, and hydrocodone.

Examples of Schedule IIN stimulants include: amphetamine (Dexedrine, Adderall), methamphetamine (Desoxyn), and methylphenidate (Ritalin).

Other Schedule II substances include: amobarbital, cocaine, glutethimide, and pentobarbital.

List of schedule 2 drugs

Schedule III / IIIN

  • The drug, substance, or chemical has a potential for abuse less than the drugs in schedules I and II, but more than Schedule IV drugs.
  • The drug, substance, or chemical has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S.
  • Abuse of the drug, substance, or chemical may lead to a moderate to low potential for physical dependence but high psychological dependence.

Examples of Schedule III narcotics include: products containing not more than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with Codeine), and buprenorphine (Suboxone).

Examples of Schedule IIIN non-narcotics include: benzphetamine (Didrex), phendimetrazine, ketamine, and anabolic steroids such as Depo-Testosterone.

List of schedule 3 drugs

Schedule IV

  • The drug, substance, or chemical has a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence compared to Schedule III.
  • The drug, substance, or chemical has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S.

Examples of Schedule IV drugs include: alprazolam (Xanax), carisoprodol (Soma), clonazepam (Klonopin), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), midazolam (Versed) temazepam (Restoril), tramadol (Conzip, Ultram), triazolam (Halcion), pentazocine, zolpidem (Ambien).

List of schedule 4 drugs

Schedule V

  • The drug, substance, or chemical has a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs in schedule IV.
  • The drug, substance, or chemical has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S.
  • Drugs, substances, or chemicals in schedule V primarily consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes. 

Examples of Schedule V drugs are: atropine / diphenoxylate (Lomotil), pregabalin (Lyrica).

List of schedule 5 drugs

Not controlled

The drug is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.