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Defining Tennessee’s drug schedules

One of the first questions that those who come to see us here at Runyon and Runyon following a drug arrest in Clarksville is what sort of penalties could they be facing if convicted. Unfortunately, there is not a simple “one size fits all” answer to that question. If you are arrested for drug possession, the charges and penalties that you may face depend largely on the type of substance you were allegedly found with.

Tennessee divides the many different forms of drugs out there into schedules. Classifications are assigned by the potential for addiction as well as whether or not a substance has applications in the medical field. These schedules (as shared by Discovery Place) are as follows:

  • Schedule I: Drugs with the highest risk or addiction and no approved medical purpose. Examples include heroin and hallucinogenics. 
  • Schedule II: Drugs with a relatively high risk of abuse and addiction, yet have been approved for certain medical uses. Examples include narcotics, cocaine and methadone, as well as amphetamines and methamphetamines.
  • Schedule III: Drugs with a moderate risk of abuse: Examples include ketamine and depressants, along with anabolic steroids and synthetic testosterone.
  • Schedule IV: Drugs with numerous medical applications that also carry with them a slight risk of addiction. Examples include prescription benzodiazepines (sedatives).
  • Schedule V: Drugs with a very low risk of dependency.

Tennessee also recognizes a Schedule VI and VII, yet these categories are reserved exclusively for marijuana and butyl nitrate (poppers), respectively.

Based on the way the state categorizes these substances, you can probably guess that the penalties for allegedly being in possession of a controlled substance are more severe for if said drug is found in Schedule I or II. More information on dealing with drug charges can be found by continuing to explore our site.