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Controlled Substances and Drug Schedules in Virginia


In the interest of public health and safety, the Commonwealth of Virginia established the Drug Control Act to regulate illegal drugs and other potentially dangerous controlled substances. In addition to other drug-related mechanisms, this act establishes the Virginia definition of a controlled substance. The Drug Control Act also divides controlled substances into separate schedules.

Definition of Controlled Substance in Virginia

The Drug Control Act defines a controlled substance as any drug or similar compound with certain dangerous qualities. In order to qualify as a controlled substance, the drug must appear on one of the official schedules.

The Drug Control Act specifically excludes alcohol and tobacco as well as pesticides and other agricultural poisons. All of those substances are subject to separate regulations in Virginia.

Definition of Controlled Substance Analog in Virginia

The Drug Control Act defines a controlled substance analog as a compound that is functionally similar to actual controlled substances. A controlled substance analog produces a similar stimulant, depressant or hallucinogenic effect on the user as the actual controlled substance.

The definition of controlled substance analog does not include compounds approved for use or pending approval under the U.S. federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which is codified as 21 U.S.C. 355. The same applies for certain testing and investigation purposes governed by the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Definition of Controlled Substance Schedules in Virginia

The Drug Control Act breaks down controlled substances into six categories. Each category is referred to as a schedule and features a listing of included substances.

  • Schedule I controlled substances are highly abusive and have no safe medical use. This category includes heroin. mescaline, LSD, and peyote.
  • Schedule II controlled substances are less abusive than Schedule I, have limited medical benefits, and can lead to severe dependence. This category includes cocaine, opium, morphine, and codeine.
  • Schedule III controlled substances are less abusive than Schedule II, have accepted medical benefits, and can lead to moderate dependence. This category includes anabolic steroids and ketamine.
  • Schedule IV controlled substances are less abusive than Schedule III, have accepted medical benefits and may lead to limited dependence. This category includes barbital, chloral hydrate, and clonazepam.
  • Schedule V controlled substances are less abusive than Schedule IV, have accepted medical benefits and can lead to limited dependence. This category includes small quantities of opium and codeine as well as pyrovalerone and briviact.
  • Schedule VI controlled substances refer to any potentially dangerous substance that does not appear on Schedules I through V. This category includes prescription pharmaceuticals and similar medications that are only intended for the named patient.

Let Us Help You Today

If you are charged with a drug crime, it is essential that you seek counsel from a trusted criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas,have ample experience representing criminal defendants. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.



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