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Drug Addiction Facts

 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

  1. Cocaine
  2. Marijuana
  3. Heroin
  4. Unspecified benzodiazepine
  5. Alprazolam (Xanax)
  6. Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  7. Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab)
  8. Amphetamine
  9. Diazepam (Valium)
  10. Lorazeparn (Ativan)
  11. Metharnphetamine (speed)
  12. Trazodone (Desyrel)
  13. Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  14. Carisoprodol
  15. Oxycodone (Percocet 5, Perdocan, Tylox)
  16. Valproic acid
  17. d-Propoxyphene (Darvocet N, Darvon)
  18. Amitriptyline (Elavil)
  19. Methadone
  20. LSD

Drug Abuse Warning Network Emergency Room Data, 1999, Table 2.06A.

Categories of Controlled Substances

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.

Schedule I
These illegal drugs have no legitimate medical use.

  • Heroin
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • MDA
  • MDMA (Ecstasy)
  • Methaqualone (formerly Quaalude)
  • Mescaline
  • Peyote
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Psilocybin

Schedule II
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, Adderall)
  • Cocaine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl (Sublimaze, Duragesic)
  • Glutethimide
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Levomethadyl (ORLAAM)
  • Levorphanol (Levo-Dromoran)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Methadone (Dolophine)
  • Methamphetamine (Desoxyn)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • Morphine (MS Contin, Oramorph, Roxanol, Duramorph, others)
  • Opium
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet, Roxicodone, Tylox)
  • Oxymorphone (Numorphan)
  • Pentobarbital (Nembutal)
  • Phenmetrazine (Preludin)
  • Secobarbital (Seconal)
  • Sufentanil (Sufenta)

Schedule III
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, Fioricet)
  • 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)
  • Testosterone

Schedule IV
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 six months.

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Butorphanol (Stadol)
  • Chloral Hydrate (Noctec)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium, Libritabs)
  • Clorazepate (Tranxene)
  • Ethchlorvynol (Placidyl)
  • Clonazepam (KIonopin)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Flurazepam (Dalmane)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Mephobarbital (Mebaral)
  • Meprobamate (Equinil, Miltown)
  • Midazolam (Versed)
  • Oxazepam (Serax)
  • Pentazocine (Talwin)
  • Phentermine (Fastin)
  • Pemoline (Cylert)
  • Phenobarbital (Luminal)
  • Prazepam (Centrax)
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvocet)
  • Quazepam (Doral)
  • Temazepam (Restoril)
  • Triazolam. (Halcion)

Schedule V
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.

  • Buprenorphine (Buprenex, Temgesic)
  • 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)
  • Diphenoxylate (Lomotil)

    Drug Addiction Facts

  • The average individual with a drug addiction needs $200.00 per day to support his/her drug addiction.
  •  90% of property crimes and muggings are drug related.
  • The 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.
  • The 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.
  • Most prison inmates have a drug addiction.
  • There 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.
  • 70% of violent crime is committed by people who are intoxicated with either alcohol or drugs.
  • People 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 self-harm.
  • 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.
  • There were approximately 250,000 emergency room admissions for cocaine overdose in 1997.
  • 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 and Europe.
  • Currently, an estimated 20 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
  • Approximately 80% of all crime in the U.S. is related to drug or alcohol addiction.
  • Approximately 135,000 die each year as a consequence of alcohol and drugs, costing about $46 billion dollars each year.
  • Alcoholism is associated with 25% of all hospital admissions.
  • Every 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.
  • Treatment of all addicts would save more than $150 billion dollars in social costs over the next 15 years.
  • Treatment is 15-17 times more effective than prison. For every crime that incarceration would eliminate, treatment would eliminate 15.
  • More than eight out of ten teenagers and their parents said illegal drugs are a major problem for teenagers nationally.
  • An overwhelming majority of teenagers and their parents agreed that alcohol use is a greater problem than the use of other drugs.
  • Six 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.
  • Four 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.
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