Schedule 3 Drugs : What are They?

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Drug scheduling is a way for the DEA to classify drugs by their danger of being abused and their accepted medical uses. “The abuse rate is a determinate factor in the scheduling of a drug,” as well as its dependency potential and its medicinal value. As there are five drug scheduling classes, schedule III drugs fall somewhere in the middle of these issues.

What are the Criteria for Schedule III Drugs?

There are different criteria for each drug classification, and a drug may put into one based on different reasons. According to the DOJ, here are the criteria for schedule III drugs:

Schedule 3 Drugs

Schedule 3 drugs are less dangerous than Schedule 2, but still carry the risk for abuse.

  • “The drug or other substance has less potential for abuse than the drugs or other substances in Schedules I and II.”
  • “The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
  • “Abuse of the drug or other substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.”

All of these criteria are important when listing a drug as a schedule III substance. The abuse potential must be low, but not so low that there is no potential at all. There also needs to be an accepted medical use for it, and the drug must be prescribed for whatever that use is. Dependence can be possible and so can withdrawal symptoms, but they should be moderate and not life-threatening.

What are the Drugs that Fall Under the Schedule III Category?

There are actually many drugs which fall under this category. There still needs to be some regulation on them, but they are not as dangerous as schedule I drugs which have “no currently accepted medical usage in the United States” or even schedule II drugs which have a higher potential for abuse.

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47,300* People Addicted
23,100* Getting Help
8,209* Deaths
*Statistic from 2015

According to the DHS, some of the drugs which fall into the schedule III category are:

  • Acetaminophen and Hydrocodone combinations (treat moderate-to-severe pain)
    • Alor
    • Anexsia
    • Bancap
    • Ceta-Plus
    • Co-Gesic
    • Damason
    • Duocet
    • Hy-phen
    • Lorcet
    • Lortab
    • Norco
    • Panacet
    • Panasal
    • Stagesic
    • Zydone
  • Hydrocodone and ibuprofen
    • Vicoprofen
  • Codeine combinations (treats moderate to severe pain)
    • Empirin with Codeine
    • Tylenol with Codeine
    • Florinal with Codine
  • Ketamine (used before surgery to cause loss of consciousness)
    • Ketaset
    • Ketalar
  • Testolactone (treats breast cancer)
    • Teolit
    • Teslac
  • Butabarbital (treats insomnia)
  • Benzphetamine (weight loss drug)
    • Didrex
    • Recede
  • Opium
    • Paregoric
  • Thiopental (barbiturate anesthetic)
    • Pentothal

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The drugs listed above are all under the classification of schedule III drugs. Although they are not as dangerous as schedule II drugs and have a medical purpose unlike schedule I drugs, a person should still be careful when taking them. Instructions for properly taking schedule III drugs are:

  • Do not take them more often or in higher doses than prescribed.
  • Do not sell them to other individuals to whom they were not prescribed.
  • Talk to your doctor about all possible side effects and proper usage of the drug before you being taking it.
  • If you experience problematic or uncomfortable side effects as a result of one of these medications, talk to your doctor immediately.

Understanding the Drug Schedules Classifications

Even though the drugs above are schedule III substances, they can still be abused and cause dependence and other side effects.

If you abuse schedule 3 drugs, call (800) 407-7195(Who Answers?) now to find a treatment program that can help you recover. 

the Take-Away

Narcotic drugs are organized into schedules for the purpose of law enforcement, prescribing, and other needs. Schedule III drugs are controlled substances with a moderate potential for abuse and dependence.