What Is the Controlled Substance Act?

The Controlled Substance Act was created to set regulations for distribution, possession, use or the selling of specified substances. When a substance is listed as “controlled”, that means the government has set laws and regulations to control the use or distribution. 

Depending on the state, the laws may vary. They may be similar to federal laws or may be more lenient. Some states require you to have a higher amount of the substance on hand in order to get convicted. They can be measured by ounces, grams, kilograms, or pounds. The type of drug plays a huge role too. Some drugs have a higher chance of abuse compared to others. 

The controlled substance act divides each drug into schedules. There are five schedules and it is divided by how addictive the drug is and the potential of physical or psychological dependence.

Drug Schedules

Schedule I

These are drugs that do not serve any medical use and have a high potential for drug abuse. 

Examples are heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. 

Schedule II

Substances, drugs, or chemicals that can lead to psychological or physical dependence. These drugs have a high potential for drug abuse. 

Examples are cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl. 

Schedule III

Drugs, chemicals, or substances that have moderate to low potential for psychological or physical dependence. These drugs have a moderate potential of leading to drug abuse. Examples are anabolic steroids, ketamine, and codeine. 

Schedule IV

Chemicals, drugs, or chemicals that have a low potential of any kind of dependency. These drugs also have a low to moderate chance of abuse. Examples are Xanax, valium, and soma. 

Schedule V 

Substances, drugs, or chemicals that have the lowest potential for creating dependency. These drugs normally contain some type of narcotic. Examples are Robitussin, Lyrica, and Parepectolin.

Types of Controlled Substances

Narcotics

A drug that causes effects on the individual’s mood and/or behavior. These drugs are also known as opiates or painkillers and are normally used for pain management.

Examples of prescription narcotics are hydrocodone, morphine, or fentanyl. Illegal narcotics would be heroin and opium. 

Side effects can include These drugs can cause increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and heart damage that can lead to a heart attack. 

Depressants

A drug that slows down the neurons in the central nervous system. Depressants give the body a sense of relaxation. These are drugs that are normally used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. 

Side effects can include impaired vision, memory, motor function, and judgment. 

Examples of depressants would be cannabis or alcohol

Stimulants

Opposite of a depressant, stimulants increase activity in the central nervous system. Stimulants give you a feeling of increased alertness, attention and energy. 

Examples are caffeine, cocaine, and nicotine.

Side effects can include permanent damage to the individual’s blood vessels in the heart and brain. Liver, kidney, and lung damage. Other side effects may occur depending on how the drug was taken. If it was sniffed, then the tissue in the user’s nose can be damaged. If smoked, that could lead to lung damage and respiratory issues. If injected, then there is the potential of communicable diseases and infections. 

Hallucinogens

A drug that causes psychological effects that can create hallucinations. These drugs affect your senses and give the illusion that something is there when it’s not. 

Examples are LSD, mescaline, and PCP.  

Side effects can include paranoia, euphoria, anxiety, and sweats. Due to feelings of panic, it can lead to increased heart rate, blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat.  

Anabolic steroids

A drug that increases the amount of testosterone in the individual’s body. These are known as synthetic testosterone and can increase muscle growth, body hair, and alter your voice. 

Examples are Androgel and Fortesta.

Side effects can include kidney, lung and heart failure. Due to the increase in hormones, it may lead to mood swings, increased aggression and depression. 

Marijuana 

Marijuana is one of the most controversial drugs. Many believe that it is a gateway drug that can lead users to try more severe drugs like meth, cocaine, or heroin. Currently, there are 33 states that allow the distribution or possession of medical marijuana. These states also allow for the use of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive extract from the marijuana plant. 

Currently, 11 states allow for the possession of recreational marijuana. Depending on the state, the amount you are allowed to have may vary. 

Colorado was one of the first states to legalize the use of recreational marijuana. Even though it’ss legal, there are still strict restrictions on how much you can have, who can sell it, grow it and who can purchase it. For states like Florida, marijuana for non-medical use is illegal and the penalties vary depending on the amount you have in your possession. 

What Is Drug Trafficking? 

Drug trafficking is the offense of illegally selling, transporting, or importing drugs. The controlled substance act states which drugs are illegal for producing, selling, distributing and possessing. 

It is a felony offense and has more severe penalties compared to possession. Over a million people get arrested each year for possession alone. If an individual was convicted for drug trafficking, then they can be faced with federal and state penalties. Even in states that legalize the recreational use of marijuana have set restrictions. 

Federal penalties for drug trafficking 

Drug trafficking is a felony on both the state and federal level. At the federal level, it is prohibited to create, distribute, dispense, or possess controlled substances. Your penalties are determined by the amount and the type of substance you have in possession. Listed below are the penalties for possession of the specified substances. 

  • 10 years to life in prison 
    • 1 kilogram or more of heroin
    • 5 kilograms or more of cocaine
    • 1000 kilograms or more of marijuana
    • 280 grams or more of a mixture of substances that contain cocaine
    • 100 grams or more of phencyclidine (PCP)
    • 1 kilogram or more of a mixture of substance that contains a detectable amount of phencyclidine (PCP)
    • 10 grams or more of a mixture of substances containing lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
    • 400 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylmethyl)-4-piperidinyl] propenamide
    • 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, its isomers, salts, and salts of its isomers
    • 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance that contains a detectable amount of methamphetamine, its isomers, salts, or salts of its isomers.

  • 5 to 40 years 
      • 100 grams of heroin
      • 500 grams of cocaine
      • 28 grams or more of a substance containing cocaine
      • 10 grams or more of phencyclidine PCP
      • 100 grams or more of a mixture containing PCP
      • 1 gram or more of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
      • 100 kilograms of marijuana 
      • 5 grams or more of methamphetamine, its isomers, salts, and salts of its isomers
      • 40 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing N-phenyl-N-[1-(2-phenylmethyl)-4-piperidinyl] propenamide
  • Not more than 5 years for 50 kilograms of marijuana.

State Penalties for Drug Trafficking 

For a state offense, the laws are similar but vary state to state. For example, in New York it is a felony to sell controlled substances. Depending on your past with drug trafficking the amount of prison time varies. Non-major drug traffickers can get anywhere between 8 to 20 years in prison. Second felony drug offenders can get anywhere between 12 to 20 years in prison. Major drug traffickers can get anywhere between 15 years or a life prison sentence. 

Other states like Florida have less severe penalties in general. Depending on the amount and the type of drug the individual possesses, penalties can vary.