October 12, 2021
What are the Worst Drugs to be Caught in Possession Of?
Possession of an illegal substance is a serious charge for anyone to face. Understanding these charges can be difficult despite Pennsylvania and the federal government using the same classification system. With all the illegal substances someone can possess, it’s understandable if someone doesn’t know that all illegal substances are not treated equally. Certain substances carry different drug possession charges, and it’s best for everyone to know the difference.
Pennsylvania’s Drug Possession Laws
In Pennsylvania, illegal substances are separated into five different classifications. Called schedules, the severity of a drug possession charge does not rise with higher schedules. The schedules are actually separated by the type of substance, so there isn’t a clear pattern to their punishments.
- Schedule I: This includes drugs that have a high potential for abuse. These have some names that most people are familiar with, such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Marijuana and cocaine commonly alternate between being the most commonly abused drugs in the state.
- Schedule II: These drugs necessitate their own classification for being legal to take, but not to abuse. Some examples include OxyContin, methamphetamine, and methadone.
- Schedule III: These include Vicodin, anabolic steroids, and ketamine. What separates these from Schedule II substances is how they affect the body. They have a high psychological dependence or moderate physical dependence that Schedule II doesn’t.
- Schedule IV: These drugs are most similar to Schedule III in classification in that they have similar though limited psychological/physical dependence. What differentiates them is that they have an accepted medical use. Some examples include Xanax, Valium, and Ambien.
- Schedule V: Like Schedule IV, drugs of this classification have medical use and limited psychological/physical dependence relative to Schedule IV, but are differentiated by the strength of their effects. This makes Schedule IV and V the most similar of all the classifications. Some examples include Lomotil, Lyrica, and cough medicines such as Robitussin AC.
Each of these different classifications faces different degrees of jail time, fines, and extra penalties. This has to do with how they can be obtained and abused. For example, there’s a different plan of action for how someone acquires a drug like Xanax from a family medicine cabinet to abuse their prescription, to someone who purchased cocaine from a dealer.
The Worst Drugs to be Caught Possessing
Typically, possessing a Schedule I drug means you have participated in an illegal system where drugs are manufactured, transported, and sold illegally. There are few drugs from other classifications that can claim the same.
Also, save for marijuana, there are no currently accepted medical treatments using Schedule I drugs in the U.S. For these reasons, Schedule I drugs carry the worst drug possession charges. They commonly face a year in prison for their first conviction, and then an added year for every extra conviction.
The Schedule I drug classification contains:
- GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) – except formulations in an FDA-approved drug product sodium oxybate (Xyrem), they are Schedule III
- Synthetic marijuana and analogs
- Bath Salts
Our Scranton Drug Possession Lawyers Can Help You
Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano has experience in seeing our client’s drug charges dismissed or reduced. We do this by getting evidence excluded that could affect your freedom and have had multiple successful outcomes with these types of cases.
The time to act is now, not later. If you’ve been charged with drug possession, don’t wait. Contact our Scranton law firm today for a free consultation.