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Penalties for distribution of Schedule I-V drugs in Pennsylvania

The severity of the penalty for selling drugs in Pennsylvania depends on the type of drug at issue. Under Pennsylvania's Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act drugs are grouped into different categories based upon their medical value and the extent to which their use can lead to addiction. There are five different categories known as Schedules I through V.

Drugs in Schedule I have no medical value, no safe usage levels and are highly addictive. Schedule II drugs can easily be abused and the abuse may cause dependence on the drug, but the drug does have medical uses through regulation. Schedule III drugs have well- documented uses for medical purposes, are less likely to be abused than drugs in Schedules I and II, and abuse will lead to only moderate or low dependence. Schedule IV drugs have low likelihood of abuse and dependence compared to Schedule III drugs and have well-documented medical uses. Schedule V drugs have well-documented medical uses and low likelihood of abuse and dependence compared to Schedule IV drugs.

As one can imagine the penalties are greater for the drugs in the lower numbered Schedules. A person convicted of manufacturing or distributing narcotic drugs in Schedule I or II could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, pay a fine of up to $250,000, or both. For all other drugs in Schedules I, II or III the person could be imprisoned for up to five years, pay a fine of up to $15,000, or both. For Schedule IV drugs the penalty is up to three years in prison, a $10,000, fine or both, and for Schedule V the penalty could be up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

As one can see penalties for selling these drugs can be quite severe. The information in this post is general information only and not legal advice. Experienced attorneys may be helpful for those facing drug charges.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health, "The Controlled Substances, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, Act of 1972, P.L. 233, No. 64," accessed on November 17, 2014

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