How Drugs are Classified in New Jersey

Drug OffensesUnder New Jersey law there are several classifications for drugs that fall under CDS or Controlled Dangerous Substances. If a drug is placed into one of the categories under CDS, it is not allowed to be sold, possessed or distributed in any manner other than those specified by New Jersey law. When a drug is judged to be one with potential for abuse, it is scheduled and regulated. In New Jersey, there are five categories of scheduled drugs, Schedules I through V.

Schedule I

Drugs are placed into the category of Schedule I when there is a significant possibility of the drug being abused and if there is no medical use for it in the United States. These types of drugs are opiates or commonly abused drugs such as heroin, marijuana, mescaline and peyote. If a person is caught in possession of or under the influence of any Schedule I drug, he or she is subject to arrest and prosecution with penalties varying based on the amount the person has and whether the intent was for use or sale and distribution.

Schedule II

The same rules apply for Schedule II as Schedule I, but adds that if Schedule II drugs are used, they can lead to severe mental problems and dependence. This means that any drug that is an opiate or uses coca in its manufacture will fall into Schedule II.

Schedule III

For a drug to be classified as a Schedule III CDS, it has less potential for abuse and addiction than drugs in the categories of Schedule I and Schedule II.  A Schedule III drug can be used for medical purposes in the United States and abuse may result in moderate mental and physical dependence on the drug. Included in Schedule III drugs are amphetamine (speed) and ketamine (Special K).

Schedule IV

A drug will be classified as Schedule IV if the possibility of abuse is low when compared to those in Schedule III. If there are accepted medical uses for the drug in the United States and it may lead to low-level dependence, a drug may be classified as Schedule IV.  An example of a Schedule IV drug is barbital, which is a hypnotic drug and is used as a sedative.

Schedule V

For a drug to be classified as Schedule V, there must be a low level of risk for abuse in relation to drugs in the four higher categories on the Schedule. There are current medical uses for Schedule V drugs in the United States and limited danger of physical dependence in relation to drugs in Schedule IV. An example of a Schedule V drug is the painkiller codeine.

How do Drugs Become Classified in NJ?

For a drug to become classified in the categories discussed above, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health decides whether or not a specific drug should be scheduled and in which group—I, II, III, IV, or V—it should be placed. The commissioner must take into account whether the drug has the potential to be used for abusive purposes, how it reacts with the human body, the scientific information available as to the effects of the drug or compound, how the drug affects the public and its health, if the drug holds the possibility of being addictive and if the drug is a precursor to another drug that has been deemed a CDS.

Contact a Drug Offense Attorney to Discuss Your CDS Charge

If you or a loved one have been arrested in connection with the New Jersey CDS laws, it is important to understand the different drugs, their placement in scheduling, potential punishments and other facts. The law firm of Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey has extensive experience with New Jersey CDS laws and can help you face your charge.

Drug laws in New Jersey can become very serious with significant fines and jail time looming as punishment, depending on whether the drug was considered for personal use or for sale and distribution. The category of drug is important as well. Going without legal advice and proper representation can be a long-term mistake. Whether you have been arrested in the towns of Asbury Park, Toms River or Long Branch, Villani & DeLuca can help. Call for a free consultation today.

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