What is a Schedule 4 Drug?

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The federal government prohibits manufacturing, trafficking, buying, selling, possessing and imbibing many types of drugs, known as controlled substances. The federal government organizes these drugs into a schedule, levels 1 through 5. The level and amount of the drug you are allegedly involved with influences the charge you face. However, while there are federal drug laws based on the federal controlled substances schedule, there are also state drug laws. The level of a drug offense and potential punishment in your state are likely different than for the federal crime involving the same conduct.

What Is a Schedule 4 Drug Charge?

Schedule 4 drugs have a low risk for dependency and a low risk for abuse, yet they are still illegal to possess without a prescription. Common Schedule 4 drugs include Ambien, Xanax, Valium and Darvocet. Under federal law, if you are caught with a Schedule 4 drug, the charge you face depends on your criminal background and whether it is a small amount for personal use or a large quantity that indicates trafficking or the intent to sell.

The amount of one or more Schedule 4 drugs you have without a prescription matters a great deal. This amount determines the level in which you are placed in under the federal guidelines.

  • Level 12: 80,000 units or more
  • Level 10: Between 40,000 and 80,000 units
  • Level 8: Between 16,000 and 40,000 units
  • Level 6: Less than 16,000 units

However, this does not include Flunitrazepam, also known as Rohypnol, which is treated differently based on different amounts.

Once the level of your offense is determined, then your criminal history is gauged in points. If convicted, your sentence is based on the level of the offense and your criminal history category, of which there are six. The court will use the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Sentencing Table to review the appropriate term of imprisonment.

However, drug possession is usually dealt with at the state level. You are more likely to be charged with a federal crime if you have a large quantity of drugs, you trafficked drugs over state lines, or the offense took place on federal property.

Read More: What Is a Schedule 1 Drug?

What Is a Schedule 3 Drug?

Schedule 3 drugs are those just above Schedule 4 drugs in terms of their potential danger. Schedule 3 drugs have a potential of abuse less than do Schedule 1 and 2 substances, which are considered the most serious and dangerous drugs. This means they have a moderate-to-low risk of physical and psychological dependency. They also have currently accepted medical uses in the U.S., which typically means they are used in the medical community and available through a prescription. Some Schedule 3 drugs include testosterone, anabolic steroids, ketamine and medications with codeine.

What Schedule of Drug is Suboxone?

According to the federal controlled substance schedule, Suboxone is a Schedule 3 drug. The actual substance is Buprenorphine, which is also called Buprenex, Temgesic and Subutex.

Buprenorphine is the first opioid dependency treatment the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved to be prescribed and dispensed at a doctor’s office. This is different from methadone, which must be given and taken in a clinic. Buprenorphine, in its various forms like Suboxone, has increased access to medication-assistant treatment. However, as a Schedule 3 drug, it is still available only through a prescription. If you are found in possession of it without a valid prescription, you can be charged with a crime.

If you are charged with a drug offense in your state or under federal law, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.


  • Schedule 4 drugs have a low potential for dependency and abuse relative to Schedule 1, 2 and 3 drugs, and they have currently accepted medical uses in the U.S., according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.