If you find yourself dealing with drug charges, it may be hard to know what the differences between illegal and controlled substances are. Many of the common guidelines used come from one statute, which categorizes each drug into a clear classification.

Knowing about Schedules and controlled substances helps to clarify any questions you have.

What it entails

Many people are unaware of this legal precedent, called the Controlled Substances Act. Signed into place in 1970 by Nixon, this law replaced previously numerous laws regarding the categorization of illegal and legal drugs, according to the Foundations Recovery Network. The Drug Enforcement Agency divided all known types into five schedules.

Drug classifications

The DEA categorized these schedules based on the ease of abuse of the drug, the risks to your health, the pattern of abuse from past cases surrounding the drug, and the possible strength of your mental or physical dependence on it. According to FindLaw, Schedule 1 is the most heavily regulated. This category includes drugs such as heroin, marijuana, LSD, and ecstasy. Schedule 5 drugs are the least regulated drugs, such as Motofen and other cough suppressant medicines.

What is illegal or legal

Not all illegal drugs are a controlled substance, however. Some medicines are only illegal once they mix with other drugs. Therefore, it is important to know that mixing drugs or abusing legal drugs is still considered breaking the law. People can still misuse drugs such as Xanax or Ambien, even though they are in the Schedule 4 category. Learning more about these drug charges is imperative to know if you worry about potential legal issues.