Under the Dome

How N.C. drug schedules work

North Carolina's drug schedules generally mimic the federal rules.

However, there are some differences.

The federal government has five classifications, ranging from heroin and LSD in Schedule I to over-the-counter cough syrup in Schedule V. North Carolina has an additional class, Schedule VI, which includes marijuana and some prescription drugs.

The use and effects of the drug are supposed to determine which schedule it goes into.

At the federal level, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration determine which substances are in the different schedules.

In North Carolina, the make-up of each schedule is written into state law or determined by the Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, whose members are appointed.

Only a handful of drugs have been added administratively, however. (See Schedules I, II, III, IV, V and VI.) Most are listed in state law. (See Schedules I, II, III, IV, V and VI.)

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated cocaine's classification. It is a Schedule II drug.

Previously: Bill would add Salvia divinorum to Schedule I.

After the jump, a list of the schedules.


Schedule I: High potential for abuse, no accepted medical use in the U.S. Examples: Cocaine, heroin, LSD.

Schedule II: High potential for abuse, accepted medical use with severe restrictions, likelihood of physical or psychological dependence. Examples: Oxycontin, Ritalin.

Schedule III: Lower potential for abuse, accepted medical use, moderate or low likelihood of addiction. Examples: Anabolic steroids, codeine, Vicodin.

Schedule IV: Low potential for abuse, accepted medical use, limited likehood of addiction. Examples: Valium, barbiturates.

Schedule V: Same as Schedule IV but available over the country. Example: Cough syrup with codeine.

Schedule VI: Low potential for abuse or addiction. Example: Marijuana.


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