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Illegal Substances vs. Controlled Substances

When it comes to drugs, most illegal substances are considered controlled substances but not all controlled substances are necessarily illegal substances. The Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and the Texas Controlled Substances Act both divide drugs into classifications referred to as schedules based on their abuse potential or possible risk. 

Certain controlled substances can be legally possessed when the person has a valid prescription. Illegal substances cannot be possessed, manufactured, or sold under any circumstances. Possession of illegal substances or controlled substances can be prohibited, and criminal charges for unlawful possession will typically be based on which drug schedule the illegal substance or controlled substance falls under.

Attorney in Georgetown, TX Discusses Illegal Substances vs. Controlled Substances

If you were arrested in Central Texas for any alleged crime involving an illegal substance or controlled substance, it would be in your best interest to quickly retain legal counsel. Law Office of Michael J. Price defends clients charged with drug offenses in Round Rock, Georgetown, Belton, Taylor, Hutto, and many surrounding areas of Bell County and Williamson County. 

Georgetown criminal defense lawyer Michael J. Price will work tirelessly to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible consequences. Call (512) 354-1880 today to have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


Texas Illegal Substances vs. Controlled Substances Information Center


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Types of Illegal Substances and Controlled Substances in Williamson County

Under the CSA, Schedule I controlled substances “have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.” This all drugs listed under Schedule I of the CSA are considered illegal substances. 

Illegal substances listed under Schedule I include: 

  • γ-Hydroxybutyric acid (Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid or GHB);
  • 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy, or Molly);
  • 3,4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV);
  • Alpha-Methyltryptamine (AMT);
  • Fentanyl-related substances, their isomers, esters, ethers, salts and salts of isomers, esters and ethers;
  • Heroin;
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD);
  • Marihuana (Marijuana) Extract;
  • Marihuana (Marijuana);
  • Mescaline;
  • Methaqualone; and
  • Opium derivatives;
  • Peyote;
  • Phencyclidine (PCP);
  • Psilocybin; and
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). 

The other four drug schedules under the CSA include both illegal substances and controlled substances. For example, Schedule II—which is defined as substances that have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence—includes such illegal substances as cocaine, fentanyl, and methamphetamine. 

Schedule II also includes such controlled substances as: 

  • Adderall;
  • Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine);
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse);
  • Codeine;
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco, Tussionex);
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Palladone);
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta);
  • Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin);
  • Nabilone (Cesamet);
  • Opium tincture (Laudanum);
  • Oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin, Percodan);
  • Oxymorphone (Opana);
  • Nembutal (Pentobarbital);
  • Pethidine (Meperidine; Demerol);
  • Secobarbital (Seconal); and
  • Tapentadol (Nucynta). 

Schedule III substances have a potential for abuse less than substances in Schedules I or II and abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Similarly, Schedule IV substances have a lower potential for abuse than Schedule III substances, and Schedule V has a low potential for abuse relative to substances listed in Schedule IV and consist primarily of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. 

Controlled substances listed under Schedule III, Schedule IV, and Schedule V include a variety of other drugs, such as Alprazolam (Xanax), Carisoprodol (Soma), Clonazepam (Klonopin), Diazepam (Valium), Eszopiclone (Lunesta), Lorazepam (Ativan), and Zolpidem (Ambien).


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Substances Excluded from Drug Schedules in Georgetown

As it relates to the Texas Controlled Substances Act, Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.033 establishes the following exclusions from schedules and applicability of the Act: 

  • A nonnarcotic substance is excluded from Schedules I through V if the substance may lawfully be sold over the counter without a prescription, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; 
  • Distilled spirits, wine, malt beverages, or tobacco; 
  • A compound, mixture, or preparation containing a stimulant substance listed in Schedule II and having a potential for abuse associated with a stimulant effect on the central nervous system is excepted from the application of this chapter if the compound, mixture, or preparation contains one or more active medicinal ingredients not having a stimulant effect on the central nervous system and if the admixtures are included in combinations, quantity, proportions, or concentrations that vitiate the potential for abuse of the substance having a stimulant effect on the central nervous system; 
  • A compound, mixture, or preparation containing a depressant substance listed in Schedule III or IV and having a potential for abuse associated with a depressant effect on the central nervous system is excepted from the application of this chapter if the compound, mixture, or preparation contains one or more active medicinal ingredients not having a depressant effect on the central nervous system and if the admixtures are included in combinations, quantity, proportions, or concentrations that vitiate the potential for abuse of the substance having a depressant effect on the central nervous system; 
  • A nonnarcotic prescription substance is exempted from Schedules I through V and the application of this chapter to the same extent that the substance has been exempted from the application of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, if the substance is listed as an exempt prescription product under 21 C.F.R. Section 1308.32 and its subsequent amendments; 
  • A chemical substance that is intended for laboratory, industrial, educational, or special research purposes and not for general administration to a human being or other animal is exempted from Schedules I through V and the application of this chapter to the same extent that the substance has been exempted from the application of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, if the substance is listed as an exempt chemical preparation under 21 C.F.R. Section 1308.24 and its subsequent amendments; and 
  • An anabolic steroid product, which has no significant potential for abuse due to concentration, preparation, mixture, or delivery system, is exempted from Schedules I through V and the application of this chapter to the same extent that the substance has been exempted from the application of the Federal Controlled Substances Act, if the substance is listed as an exempt anabolic steroid product under 21 C.F.R. Section 1308.34 and its subsequent amendments.

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Illegal Substances vs. Controlled Substances Resources in Texas

Schedules of Controlled Substances | Drug Manufacturers and Distributors — Drug manufacturers and distributors must apply for licenses with the Texas Department of State Health Services. Visit this website to view a list of recent changes to schedules of controlled substances in Texas. Amendments listed here include information about renewals and terminations of licenses issued. 

Controlled Drugs | Texas State Board of Pharmacy — The duties of the Texas State Board of Pharmacy include establishing regulations for pharmacy practice. On this website, you can learn more about what constitutes a controlled (scheduled) drug. You can also find information about Texas pharmacy laws and regulations.


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Find an Illegal Substances and Controlled Substances Defense Lawyer in Georgetown, TX

Were you arrested for a crime involving an illegal substance or controlled substance in Central Texas? You should avoid making any statement to authorities until you can contact Law Office of Michael J. Price. 

Michael J. Price is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Georgetown who represents residents and visitors in communities all over Williamson County and Bell County, including Killeen, Temple, Cedar Park, Leander, Harker Heights, and several others. 

You can have our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call (512) 354-1880 or fill out an online contact form to receive a free, confidential consultation.



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