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The Difference Between an Illegal and a Controlled Substance

The Difference Between an Illegal and a Controlled Substance

By learning the difference between illegal and controlled substances, San Diego residents can protect themselves

Throughout the United States, drug abuse of all kinds is at an all-time high. Currently, two specific epidemics are plaguing the American people – the prescription drug epidemic and the heroin epidemic. These two epidemics serve as perfect examples of the differences between illegal and controlled substances. At this time, heroin is an illegal and controlled substance, while equally addictive prescription drugs (such as Percocet, OxyContin, hydrocodone, and Ambien) are controlled substances.

How Are Drugs Classified?

Any substance whose manufacture, sale or use is in some way regulated by the government is a controlled substance. Controlled substances include both illegal and legal drugs. The primary difference between illegal and controlled substances is that controlled substances that are not outright illegal have been deemed to have some medical purpose, while illegal substances have no acceptable medical use. All controlled substances fall within five schedules according to their addiction potential and medical value (Schedule I being the most addictive and Schedule V the least). Some examples of controlled substances include the following:

  • Marijuana
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Adderall
  • Xanax
  • Klonopin

Some examples of controlled substances that are also illegal include:

  • Cocaine
  • LSD (acid)
  • Heroin
  • MDMA (“Molly”)
  • Crystal Meth

While some controlled substances like oxycodone are not illegal, the improper use, sale, production or distribution of such drugs is.

The Importance of Understanding the Similarities

While knowing the differences between controlled and illegal substances can be beneficial, it is also important to understand the similarities between the two. Despite the information available, many San Diego residents may still believe that controlled substances are not nearly as dangerous to abuse as illegal street drugs. Again, the prescription drug and heroin epidemics serve as a great example of why this is not true. Abusing a substance of any kind whatsoever can lead to the development of a physical and/or psychological dependency that can turn an individual’s life upside down. By understanding that all drugs produce significant side effects (including addiction), San Diego residents will have the information they need to avoid drug addiction.

Do You Need Treatment?

Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline right now. Do not waste one more day abusing any kind of drug. Call us today to get the help that you need to overcome your struggles with addiction and/or abuse.