The Schedule level of a drug has NOTHING to do with its safety.

I recently listened to the Joe Rogan Experience episode with Hamilton Morris. Hamilton had some really, really strong points that I had not thought about, of which I might elaborate over the span of a couple different posts. In this one, I want to strengthen my previously held argument that the Scheduled Drug list is not only contradictory, but it is also idiotic, ill-intentioned, and perhaps evil.

Let’s look at the list:

Schedule I
Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:
heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote
Schedule II
Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are:
Combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin
Schedule III
Schedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Schedule III drugs abuse potential is less than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs but more than Schedule IV. Some examples of Schedule III drugs are:
Products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone
Schedule IV
Schedule IV drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Some examples of Schedule IV drugs are:
Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien, Tramadol
Schedule V
Schedule V drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes. Some examples of Schedule V drugs are:
cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC), Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, Parepectolin

We can see automatically how idiotic and contradictory this scheduling is. The drugs deemed the most harmful by the government on this list are almost unanimously not only the ones which are the least harmful, but also sometimes the most helpful. This is shown with 4/6 of the drugs listed there and of the remaining two, there technically is some medical benefit to these, but ultimately, at least heroin, is generally considered very harmful (although I’ll talk about this in another post about this interview with Hamilton). Okay, and what is the rest of this list like. I won’t go through this whole list but I’ll point out some obvious ones. First of all, methamphetamine is labelled as a Schedule II substance. Which is correct: it does have some health benefits and has high potential for abuse. But, are we really going to treat it as more of an issue than cannabis and LSD? Furthermore, Xanax is put in the Schedule IV substances, meaning it has low levels of dependence, which is just objectively wrong.

But, aside from being completely contradictory, there is a much larger issue with this list. Instead of looking at the list itself and its obvious problems, we need to look at what’s not on this list. The poisonous chemical contained in pufferfish, which is 1200 times more poisonous than cyanide, is not on this list. In fact, you can buy it! Speaking of cyanide, where’s this? Lead isn’t on this list, either. These are all drugs which can kill you, in fact with greater ease than cannabis ever could. So what is this Schedule Drug list even about? Well, it’s surely not about which drugs are the most dangerous for you. If it were, then these drugs would be on the list, right? A perusal of this list would lead any rational person to believe the entire concept of the Scheduled Drugs list, regardless of the level of scheduling, is about banning drugs which cause you pleasure. Not ones that harm you.

One thought on “The Schedule level of a drug has NOTHING to do with its safety.

  1. Liz Beaulieu 3 Aug 2020 / 6:07 am

    I believe that the scheduling of the drugs is based on medicinal use, regulation of pharmaceutical companies in compliance with the law. I don’t think marijuana should be on the list of schedule I drugs because it has medicinal uses. Your examples of LSD and cyanide are not used for medicinal use and are not manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, so I feel those would fall into a schedule I category. However, I do think the scheduling of the drug is for regulation of prescribing and administering. Speaking from the perspective of a former medication aide at a group home, the regulation of these drugs are important. If they were not regulated, many people could shop around to several different doctors to get several different prescriptions and develop a dependence on these drugs. I think the benzodiazepines should be a schedule II drug rather than IV because those can also be highly addictive. We were required to keep track of schedule II and IV drugs at the group homes I worked at and was a fireable offense if pills were to go missing. I think the scheduling of drugs needs to be highly updated but I do believe that they are for regulation and safety of consumers. Just my opinion.


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