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According to the Drug
Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), fourteen of the top twenty most abused controlled
substances in the United States, are prescription drugs. Benzodiazepines rank
highest on the list, and are followed by the opiates or painkillers.
Top 20 Most Abused Drugs
- Unspecified benzodiazepine
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin,
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Lorazeparn (Ativan)
- Metharnphetamine (speed)
- Trazodone (Desyrel)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Oxycodone (Percocet 5,
- Valproic acid
- d-Propoxyphene (Darvocet
- Amitriptyline (Elavil)
Drug Abuse Warning Network Emergency Room Data, 1999, Table 2.06A.
Categories of Controlled
In 1970, Congress passed
the Controlled Substances Act to better regulate the manufacture, distribution,
and dispensing of controlled substances. The act divides into five schedules
those drugs known to have potential for physical or psychological harm, based
on their potential for abuse, medical use, and safety under medial supervision.
Schedule I drugs, such as
heroin, have a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and are not
available through legal means. Schedules II through V contain drugs with accepted
medical uses but abuse potential. Schedule II pharmaceuticals are mostly likely
to be abused. Schedule V drugs are the least likely to be abused.
The Drug Enforcement Agency
(DEA) monitors the registration, record-keeping, and drug security of those
handling and receiving controlled substances. Examples from the five categories
of controlled substances are listed below.
These illegal drugs have no legitimate medical use.
- MDMA (Ecstasy)
- Methaqualone (formerly
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
High potential for abuse. Use may lead to severe physical or psychological dependence.
Prescriptions must be written in ink, or typewritten and signed by the practitioner.
Verbal prescriptions must be confirmed in writing within, 72 hours, and may
be given only in a genuine emergency. No refills are permitted.
- Alfentanil (Afenta)
- Amobarbital (Amytal)
- Amphetamine (Dexedrine,
- Fentanyl (Sublimaze,
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Levomethadyl (ORLAAM)
- Levorphanol (Levo-Dromoran)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Methadone (Dolophine)
- Methamphetamine (Desoxyn)
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
- Morphine (MS Contin,
Oramorph, Roxanol, Duramorph, others)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin,
Percodan, Percocet, Roxicodone, Tylox)
- Oxymorphone (Numorphan)
- Pentobarbital (Nembutal)
- Phenmetrazine (Preludin)
- Secobarbital (Seconal)
- Sufentanil (Sufenta)
These drugs have potential for abuse. May lead to low-to-moderate physical dependence
or high psychological dependence. Prescriptions may be oral or written. Up to
five refills are permitted within six months.
- Anabolic steroids (numerous
products such as Anadrol-50, Deca-Durabolin, Halotestin, Oxandrin, Winstrol)
- Benzphetamine (Didrex)
- Butabarbital (Butisol)
- Butalbital (Fiorinal,
- Camphorated tincture
of opium (Paregoric)
- Codeine (low doses combined
with non-narcotic medications such as Tylenol, Phenaphen, Aspirin,
Empirin, Soma Compound)
- Hydrocodone (with acetaminophen
- Lorcet, Lortab, Vicodin; with Aspirin - Lortab ASA;
with chlorpheniramine - Tussionex)
- Marinol (Dronabinol)
- Methyprylon (Noludar)
- Nalorphine (Nalline)
- Phendimetrazine (Plegine)
Potential for abuse. Use may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence.
Prescriptions may be oral or written. Up to five refills are permitted within
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Butorphanol (Stadol)
- Chloral Hydrate (Noctec)
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium,
- Clorazepate (Tranxene)
- Ethchlorvynol (Placidyl)
- Clonazepam (KIonopin)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Flurazepam (Dalmane)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Mephobarbital (Mebaral)
- Meprobamate (Equinil,
- Midazolam (Versed)
- Oxazepam (Serax)
- Pentazocine (Talwin)
- Phentermine (Fastin)
- Pemoline (Cylert)
- Phenobarbital (Luminal)
- Prazepam (Centrax)
- Propoxyphene (Darvon,
- Quazepam (Doral)
- Temazepam (Restoril)
- Triazolam. (Halcion)
Codeine (in low doses
combined with non-narcotic medications such as Actifed, Novahistine
DH, Terpin Hydrate, Ambenyl, Prometh, Pbenergan, Dihistine DH, Dimetane-DC,
Robitussin A-C, Cheracol)
Subject to state and local regulation. Abuse potential is low; addictive medication
is often combined with nonaddicting medicines to reduce abuse potential. A prescription
may not be required.
average individual with a drug addiction needs $200.00 per day to support his/her
90% of property crimes
and muggings are drug related.
average individual with a drug addiction has to steal an average of $1,000.00
worth of property and goods to raise the $200.00.
average individual with a drug addiction self medicates a physical,
emotional, spiritual hurt with drugs he/she has not been able to deal with in
a healthy manner.
prison inmates have a drug addiction.
is a gradual dissemination of the 'harder drugs' heroin and cocaine into younger
and younger populations as the stigma of drug use breaks down. The alarming
decrease in the cost of hard drugs also means that they now represent better
'value for money' than alcohol.
of violent crime is committed by people who are intoxicated with either alcohol
who have been drinking are at greater risk of being the victim of violent crime,
and are also more likely to be involved in accidents, fires and to engage in
one study conducted at the National Addiction Center, 650 individuals with a
heroin addiction committed more than 70,000 crimes in a three-month period.
It is estimated that in 1997 more than 30 million people in the United States
and Europe suffered from chronic alcohol and drug addiction; approximately 22
million individuals with an alcohol addiction, 6 million individuals with a
cocaine addiction and almost 2 million individuals with a heroin addiction.
were approximately 250,000 emergency room admissions for cocaine overdose in
1997, an estimated 2 million people sought treatment for their drug and alcohol
addictions at approximately 1200 drug rehabilitation clinics in the United States
an estimated 20 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
80% of all crime in the U.S. is related to drug or alcohol addiction.
135,000 die each year as a consequence of alcohol and drugs, costing about $46
billion dollars each year.
is associated with 25% of all hospital admissions.
dollar spent on treatment leads to a $7.46 reduction in crime related expenses
and lost productivity. When health care savings are added in, every $1 invested
in treatment for addiction yields a total return of $12 saved.
of all addicts would save more than $150 billion dollars in social costs over
the next 15 years.
is 15-17 times more effective than prison. For every crime that incarceration
would eliminate, treatment would eliminate 15.
than eight out of ten teenagers and their parents said illegal drugs are a major
problem for teenagers nationally.
overwhelming majority of teenagers and their parents agreed that alcohol use
is a greater problem than the use of other drugs.
out of ten teenagers said at least some students at their schools use drugs.
Among high school students, the number was to eight out of ten.
teenagers out of ten reported having friends who use drugs; more than a quarter
said someone has tried to sell them illegal drugs.
More than 55% of the parents
interviewed acknowledged that they had smoked marijuana sometime in their lives,
and one out of five admitted using other illegal drugs.