Differences in types of illegal drugs

Differences in types of illegal drugs

Believe it or not, it can be a little tricky to tell some prohibited drugs apart from controlled substances. Here’s why.
Some drugs can be illegal, but not prohibited. Other substances could be legal, but considered just as addictive as some prohibited substances because they’re controlled and regulated. And some drugs could be legal, but considered illegal when taken in a higher dosage than prescribed.
There are many layers and labels used to determine whether a drug is safe for consumption or not. To understand the differences between prohibited and regulated substances, it’s important to be fully aware of the definitions & risks of each type.

What are “Prohibited Drugs"?

Serious bearded young prospective male
Prohibited drugs are pretty much off-limits in the eye of the law. This means that they can’t be legally bought or sold in The United States; so you will likely see some sort of trouble if you’re caught growing/making, distributing, or using prohibited substances.
Prohibited drugs can be extremely dangerous and are not medically monitored. These types of substances may include heroin or methamphetamine.

Effects of using prohibited drugs

One of the most common and dangerous risks of using prohibited drugs is developing an addiction. Addictions may come with changes to the appearance, uncontrollable mood changes, overdose, and even coma or death.

What are regulated substances?

Regulated substances, on the other hand, may have potential for dependence. These kinds of drugs can be obtained either over-the-counter, by prescription, or illegally. This depends on the substance.
While all the different types of regulated drugs vary from each other, they have one overarching thing in common: they’re controlled by the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). The CSA, founded in 1970, was created to decrease drug distribution and dependence.

Examples of regulated drugs

The CSA categorizes its controlled substances into five schedules. Drugs in schedule five have the least potential for abuse, and those in schedule one have the most dependence risk.
Here are some examples of regulated drugs in each of the five schedules:
  • Schedule I: Marijuana & LSD
  • Schedule II: Adderall & Cocaine
  • Schedule III: Testosterone & Ketamine
  • Schedule IV: Xanax & Valium
  • Schedule V: Some cough medicines & Lyrica

Possible symptoms of regulated drug use

These substances, even if medically regulated, can increase your risk for different health issues including:
  • Several types of cancer
  • Overdose
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
So if regulated substances can be illegal and cause similar effects as prohibited drugs, what’s the actual difference?

Regulated vs. prohibited: What’s the difference?

The main difference between regulated and prohibited drugs is that one type is regulated by the government and the other is not. They may also be ranked differently in terms of addictiveness.
However, regulated and prohibited drugs can both be extremely dangerous and harmful to several areas of your health. Just because a substance is controlled or even legal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should be using it.

Using substances responsibly

You should only use any type of drug if it is legal or prescribed to you. If prescribed, use a substance responsibly and according to dosage. Also, do not mix prescriptions with any other substances (alcohol, marijuana). If you have any doubts or side effects while using a prescription drug, talk to your doctor about why you may be experiencing it.
To learn more about both regulated and prohibited drugs, contact our team of substance abuse and medical professionals by visiting us here or calling 267.209.7313.


Related Resources

Overcome your addiction today with the help of one of the best addiction rehab centers in the U.S. We are in-network with most major insurance companies.

Subscribe to Our Monthly Newsletter

Get exclusive resources, find inspiration, and grow alongside us. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter now!

Scroll to Top