Within the criminal justice system, law enforcement officials classify certain illegal drugs as narcotic substances. While legal narcotics drugs do exist in prescription form, the Schedule 1 narcotics list only includes illegal drugs.
The Schedule 1 narcotics list exists as one of five different classifications of drugs. From these lists, judicial systems can assign criminal charges based on the type of drug involved and the intent of the person being charged.
The Controlled Substances Act
Established under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, the Controlled Substances Act sets the guidelines for determining the legal medical uses for different classes of drugs. From these guidelines came five distinct drug classifications or schedules that make up the narcotics lists:
- Schedule 1 – narcotic drugs with no known acceptable medical use that carry a high abuse potential
- Schedule 2 – narcotic drugs that have medical uses but carry a high abuse potential
- Schedule 3 – narcotic and non-narcotic drug combinations, such as codeine and aspirin which have a moderate abuse potential
- Schedule 4 – narcotic and non-narcotic drug combinations, which have a low abuse potential
- Schedule 5 – narcotic and non-narcotic drug combinations, which have a limited abuse potential
Of all the five classifications, the Schedule 1 narcotics list carries the highest risk for physical and psychological dependence as well as addiction.
Types of Narcotics
Excluding prescription drug narcotics, the Schedule 1 narcotics list includes the following types of drugs:
Stimulant drugs, such as cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine speed up the body’s central nervous system. For recreational purposes, these drugs are known for creating states of euphoria and an overall “speed” effect.
Cannabinoid drugs on the Schedule 1 narcotics list include hashish, TCH or tetrahydrocannabinol and marijuana. These drugs create a more relaxed effect or “high,” but carry the highest risk for side effects and produce severe withdrawal symptoms.
Hallucinogen drugs, such as PCP, magic mushrooms and LSD are known for their ability to alter human perception and mood. Side effects from these drugs are equally mind-altering, some of which include delusions, hallucinations and flashbacks.
Schedule 1 Conditions
Data collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics show 3.9 percent of homicides in 2007 were narcotics-related. In addition to their high potential for dependence and addiction, Schedule 1 narcotics also tend to incite reckless behaviors in those who use them. Part of the reason why drugs on the Schedule 1 narcotics list have no medical use is because of their potential to incite out-of-control behaviors.
Laws involving Schedule 1 narcotics list specifically prohibit the possession, manufacture, distribution and dispensing of these drugs under any circumstances. Penalties for violating these laws vary based on the types of charges filed against a person. Accordingly, possession of a drug on the Schedule 1 narcotics list carries lesser penalties than charges involving manufacturing and distribution. While the more serious offenses typically carry felony charges, misdemeanor charges apply in cases where a person is in possession of a narcotic without to intent to distribute.
Bureau of Justice Statistics