Legal and Illegal Drugs
Why are some drugs legal and others illegal? There are a few key differences that makeup, why some drugs can be bought at your local convenience store and others, can land you a spot in jail. The primary difference between legal and illegal drugs, and the main idea behind drug classification, is the risk of abuse. However, illegal drugs are often unregulated. This lack of regulation makes them more unpredictable and dangerous than their legal counterparts. Also, it is more likely to lead people down the painful road of addiction. The differences in potency and risk of abuse created the need to differentiate between legal and illegal drugs. However, if you find yourself abusing drugs of any kind, we can help. Give us a call today at 614-502-6247.
Facts About Legal and Illegal Drugs
There is a lot to understand about legal and illegal drug use in the United States. However, most of us technically use drugs in our daily lives. You may take ibuprofen to relieve menstrual cramps or an Advil to get rid of a bad headache. It is the progression beyond treating symptoms that creates a risk of abuse. This is what makes drug addiction complex and why lawmakers draw lines concerning what drugs are legal and illegal. Drugs can drastically change the way the brain functions. But drug addiction is far more complex than just a lack of willpower. Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. Moreover, addiction affects people from all walks of life; it does not play favorites.
Why is understanding legal and illegal drugs important? To summarize, the misuse of drugs is often a matter of life and death. According to data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths in 2017. The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (drugs such as fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol) increased by 45% between 2016 and 2017, from 6.2 to 9.0 per 100,000. The misuse of drugs remains a public health crisis to this day. Furthermore, this is why understanding why certain types of drugs are legal and others illegal is so important.
Here is a legal and illegal drug list:
Classifying Drugs – Schedule 1
We classify drugs to help with control, treatment, and regulation. In the United States, we use categories called schedules. The drug schedule ranges from one to five, with one being the most dangerous. These drugs are assigned a schedule based on a few factors. Let us start by looking at the most dangerous types of illegal drugs that fall under the Schedule 1 classification.
Schedule 1 drugs are substances with no real medical use and a high risk of abuse. These drugs are often extremely stimulating and can have a wide range of potential side effects. Schedule I drugs also increase the chances of you being charged with a felony offense. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website, for instance, Schedule 1 drugs include:
- Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
- Marijuana (cannabis)
- 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy)
- Methaqualone (commonly referred to as Quaaludes)
Any of these substances sound familiar? A lot of these illegal drugs are what you might call “party drugs.” People will take them for purely recreational purposes (or spiritual purposes in the case of peyote). These substances meet with a range of both good and bad societal perceptions. For example, the range of perception is with the use of marijuana. While marijuana is still federally illegal, many states have taken the initiative to legalize it. This illustrates that even on the legal front the drug conversation is ever-evolving. In addition, the lack of acceptable medical use and a strong risk of abuse is what qualifies these substances as Schedule 1 drugs.
In conclusion, are you hooked on a schedule I drug? Worrying about a loved one? Do not hesitate to reach out and call us right now. Our professionalists can and will help you find the correct treatment through any questions you may have. Sobriety can start now.
Schedule II Drugs
Some other types of illegal drugs fall under the next classification, which is Schedule II. Schedule II drugs have a high risk of abuse and the use of these drugs can lead to extreme physical or psychological dependence. This potential for dependence makes Schedule II drugs the second most dangerous type of illegal drug. For example, types of Schedule II drugs include the following:
- Combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
These substances include a lot of the common opioids, which people abuse at alarming rates in the United States. Opioids are a class of drugs used to relieve pain. However, Adderall, despite being legal, also has had its share of bad press. It was being used in unhealthy ways by many young adults, particularly college students, due to a perceived increase in productivity. A lot of these drugs also take a large toll on the user’s body, with the biggest risk being overdose. We urge you to consider seeking treatment before the problem with this addiction worsens. We can guide you through this process.
Schedule III Drugs
Another type of drug classification is Schedule III drugs. This is where the risks associated with use begin to lessen. Schedule III drugs have a moderate to low potential for psychological or physical dependence. For example, Schedule III drugs are:
- Products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine)
- Anabolic steroids
Athletes are a prime example of people who may misuse these types of drugs. You may have seen headlines about sports players “doping,” which means using steroids or testosterone to enhance athletic performance and ability. Luckily, these types of drugs are a bit easier to walk away from in comparison to the substances listed under Schedule I or II, although heavy use is still associated with many health risks.
If you are looking to get help for drug addiction, then call us today. Above all, our experts are standing by ready to help you start a happier and healthier life.
Schedule IV Drugs
The next type of drug classification is Schedule IV. Schedule IV drugs are drugs characterized as having a low risk of abuse and a low risk of dependence. To put it simply, these drugs are far safer and far more available than others. For example, Schedule IV drugs include:
These types of drugs are readily available by prescription. For instance, Xanax is a popular treatment for anxiety and panic disorders. But Ambien is a sedative used to treat insomnia. These drugs are typically created solely for medicinal use and are considered legal.
Schedule V Drugs
The final classification for drugs is Schedule V. Schedule V drugs are substances with the lowest potential for abuse. According to the DEA, this category of legal drugs also consists of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. For example, substances in the Schedule V category include:
- Cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC)
These types of drugs usually treat things like diarrhea, cold symptoms, and minor aches and pains. The pain relief properties in these drugs can be attributed to narcotics. This then makes them practical for managing pain. Moreover, narcotics in more massive amounts are dangerous and illicit. However, drugs in this schedule are entirely legal. Most of these examples are available by prescription or even over-the-counter. They have a low possibility of abuse compared to their more potent counterparts. This lower risk enables Schedule V drugs to be more readily accessible to the general public. Also, it helps many find relief from annoying ailments. Call us today if you need help with an addiction to any substance. Our specialists will be able to work with you to get you the service that you need. Do not wait. Call today and get the help you need now.
Illegal Drugs and their Medical Origins
Certain types of drugs are abused more than others. A lot of these substances were created with medical intentions but because of their properties became dangerous illegal drugs. Methamphetamine (meth) is one example of this phenomenon. Meth is classified by the DEA as a Schedule II stimulant. This classification makes it legally available as a one-time prescription. One of its medical uses includes the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Also, it has alarmingly been used as a short-term weight loss treatment. Both medical uses of meth are rare and hardly prescribed. Additionally, when it is prescribed it is in far lower doses than what would be found in the recreational drug.
Another drug that falls in this grey area is cocaine. Cocaine is illegal for recreational use but can be used for pharmaceutical purposes. One example of the medical use of cocaine is as local anesthesia for certain types of surgery. Its recreational repercussions are what lands cocaine on the Schedule II list despite its occasional medical uses.
Have you heard of Morphine? Well, Fentanyl is its stronger, more dangerous, cousin. According to the DEA, Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl is for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin. Because of its powerful opioid properties, Fentanyl still falls in the Schedule II category.
Another class of illicit substances with medicinal origins is benzodiazepines. This is a category of drugs typically on the schedule IV category that are only available through prescription. Remember, Schedule IV drugs are deemed low-risk but that does not stop people from abusing these substances. The most common benzodiazepines are the prescription drugs Valium®, Xanax®, Halcion®, Ativan®, and Klonopin®. Finally, people who abuse these drugs usually begin by obtaining a prescription illegally. Call us today if you, or someone you love, has an addiction to a stimulant or a depressant. We will help you get the treatment for you and your situation.
Using Drugs Illegally
Whether it’s forging a prescription or buying street drugs, the misuse of drugs can have many ramifications. This is especially true of drugs that fit in the Schedule I or Schedule II category, due to their powerful nature. While most drugs have pharmaceutical uses, forming a tolerance to them will require treatment. The building of tolerance is what leads to addiction, a devastating disease that impacts not only the user but their community at large. Both legal and illegal drugs can pose a risk but in knowing the scale of the risk associated you can find the proper resources to quit.
The research behind drug use, why it happens, and how to stop it is only growing. If you or a loved one is using drugs illegally and do not know how to stop, we are here to help. Give us a call anytime for facts about legal and illegal drugs and we will help you find a treatment that is right for you.
Written by Meccah Muhammad