drug | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminal Law

In the criminal justice context, a drug is a substance that is used for medicinal or recreational purposes and that is regulated by law.

Drugs can be legal, such as prescription medications, or they can be illegal, such as cocaine or marijuana. The illegal drug trade is a major concern in the criminal justice system, as it can lead to drug-related crime, violence, and health problems.

In the criminal justice system, drugs are often classified according to their potential for abuse and their medicinal value. The controlled substances schedules, which the federal government establishes in the United States, categorize drugs based on their potential for abuse, medical uses, and addiction. Schedule I drugs, for example, are considered to have the highest potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, while Schedule V drugs are considered to have a lower potential for abuse and are typically used for medicinal purposes.

The possession, sale, and distribution of illegal drugs are criminal offenses, and individuals who are caught with illegal drugs can be charged with drug offenses. The severity of the charge and the penalty depend on the type and amount of the drug involved, as well as the jurisdiction in which the offense took place.

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Last Modified: 01/09/2023


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