The Controlled Substances Act and drug charges

Many Utah residents likely understand that it is illegal to use certain types of substances. The use of illegal drugs, for example, is not permitted under any circumstances. Prescription drug use is also highly regulated and can lead to criminal charges for drug crimes when abused. These rules are likely in place because of a federal regulation called the Controlled Substances Act.

The Controlled Substances Act was created in 1970 as a way to consolidate a series of complicated drug laws in the United States. Prior to this law, more than 200 laws were in effect that made it difficult for states’ and law enforcement officials to enforce drug laws.

Under the CSA, five levels — called Schedules — were created that classify drugs. The most serious of these classifications is Schedule 1. Schedule 1 contains drugs that have no medical benefit and therefore considered the most harmful. Illegal drugs such as heroin, marijuana and ecstasy are all Schedule 1 drugs. According to the government, the other Schedules get less harmful as they get closer to Schedule 5. Schedule 2, for example, includes cocaine while Schedule 3 contains Vicodin. Schedule 5 contains the least harmful drugs including cough medication.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is responsible for ensuring that people and companies comply with the CSA. The DEA will investigate and regulate the use of controlled substances. It is also the organization that decides which drugs are classified into which Schedules. Punishments for using or abusing controlled substances vary based on the drug’s schedule.

States, like Utah, must comply with the CSA. Therefore, the substances listed will likely have serious penalties under Utah state law, as well as federal law.

Source:, “The Controlled Substances Act (CSA): Overview,” accessed Nov. 24, 2014

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