Pennsylvania Classes of Drugs

Pennsylvania law categorizes all controlled substances.  Each controlled substance falls under a specific class or “schedule” based on its severity, how addictive the substance is and whether there is a known medical use for the drug.  Each schedule carries a different set of penalties and standards.


Pennsylvania Schedules of Controlled Substances

The five drug schedules under Pennsylvania law range from the most serious drugs (Schedule I) to the least serious (Schedule V).

  • SCHEDULE I.  These drugs are rated for the highest potential for abuse, generally have no known medical use in the U.S, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. These drugs include opiates and opium derivatives (heroin), hallucinogens (LSD), marijuana.
  • SCHEDULE II.  These drugs have a high potential for abuse, but they differ from Schedule I drugs in that they have a very limited currently accepted medical use in the U.S. or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Schedule II drugs include morphine, PCP, cocaine, methadone and methamphetamine.
  • SCHEDULE III.  These drugs have less potential for abuse than the controlled substances previously listed and have a currently accepted medical use in treatment.  Schedule III drugs include anabolic steroids, HGH, codeine and hydrocodone with aspirin.
  • SCHEDULE IV.  These drugs have a low potential for abuse relative to the drugs previously listed and include substances such as Valium and Xanax. Many prescription drugs are classified as Schedule IV.
  • SCHEDULE V.  These drugs are rated for the lowest potential for dependency and are accepted for medical uses in the U.S.  Schedule V drugs include medications such as cough syrups with small amounts of codeine.


Montgomery County PA Criminal Attorney

The severity of the penalties, including the length of prison terms, depend in part on the class of drug that led to the arrest/charges.  Contact an experienced criminal attorney at The Martin Law Firm to discuss your case and your legal rights.  The Martin Law Firm offers a free case evaluation.  Contact us today at 215-646-3980.