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Controlled Substances and the Texas Controlled Substance Act

There are certain drugs that are classified as controlled substances. But why is one drug considered to be a controlled substance, while another is not? And how are controlled substances regarded according to Texas law?

Generally speaking, controlled substances are drugs or other chemicals that can be addictive and easily abused. In the US, specific drugs are designated as controlled substances by the Controlled Substances Act, the federal statute “under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use, and distribution of certain substances is regulated.” They are managed and monitored by the US Drug Enforcement Agency, which enforces the laws and regulations against illicit drug trafficking. Texas, like many other states, has had its own law on the books regarding controlled substances since 1970: the Texas Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Enacted in 1971, the Texas CSA includes provisions that are similar to those of the federal statute, but also some state-specific provisions.

According to Section 481.002 of the Texas CSA, a controlled substance is defined as any “substance, including a drug, an adulterant, and a dilutant, listed in Schedules I through V or Penalty Group 1, 1-A, 2, 2-A, 3, or 4. The term includes the aggregate weight of any mixture, solution, or other substance containing a controlled substance.” Controlled substances are classified into specific groups called “schedules;” the CSA delineates each of the five different schedules and the specific set of penalties ascribed to each. Controlled substances  penalties can differ significantly between schedules, depending on the offense—it matters whether someone is charged with the manufacture of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for personal use, or possession of such a substance with the intent to sell or distribute it to others. And these penalties can include anything from expensive fines to jail or prison time, from a lengthy suspension of one’s driver’s license to compulsory drug addiction treatment.

It is important to note that possession of a controlled substance is not always considered a crime; there are exceptions and exemptions that might apply. Under a few circumstances in Texas it is legal to possess and use controlled substances, such as when that substance has been prescribed by a qualified medical doctor for the treatment of some illness or condition, or when required for scientific research by an authorized and recognized research organization. Possession and use of a controlled substance are viewed as illicit when these conditions are absent. Further, if there is no legitimate use for a controlled substance (e.g. drugs such as heroin, ecstasy, etc.), there is then no justification for possession or use under the law. 

Offenses involving controlled substances are extremely serious everywhere, but especially in the state of Texas, where drug-related crimes are prosecuted very harshly at every turn. If you have been arrested or charged with possession of a controlled substance or the distribution or manufacture of any illicit drug in Texas, your next step should be contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with state drug laws. Jarvis, Garcia, & Erskine Law, based in Austin, Texas, handles a wide range of legal cases, including many stemming from drug charges like possession of a controlled substance. Contact the competent team at Jarvis, Garcia, & Erskine Law to help you with your case.