Many different kinds of drugs are available for purchase at your local drug store or grocery store. The legalization of marijuana in many states — for medical and recreational use — has left many people confused about which drugs are legal and which drugs are not.

Some people may even think that if people aren’t bothering anyone, why can’t they use whatever form of drugs they want? The truth of the matter is that laws prevent the general public from legally using a variety of drugs for a variety of reasons.

The most common illegal drugs include cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, amphetamines, steroids, PCP, and often marijuana (in some states). According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 20 million people have used an illegal drug in the past 30 days. This estimate represents 8% percent of the population in the United States.1

Why Are Some Drugs Illegal?

NO sign illustrationSome of the reasons drugs are illegal because they cause harm. Illegal drugs such as those listed above have been proven to cause physical and psychological harm; therefore, many laws have been put in place to prevent the misuse of them. This has been done as a form of public service, as those who make the laws are looking to protect the general public.

In addition, the drugs may cause bad behavior. It is no secret that drug use can lead to criminal behavior. Therefore, drugs that have proven to create an increase in criminal activity and negative behaviors have been made illegal to help curb these issues.

Illegal drugs also can cause death, especially when the drugs are abused for a long period of time. Similar to using jail as a mechanism to prevent criminal activity, laws are utilized to help prevent individuals from experimenting with drugs and dying as a result of addiction.

Why Are Some Drugs Legal?

Some drugs are legal for a variety of different reasons. For example, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine are all legal. People use them everyday. To accurately answer this question, we must look at the approval process. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration approves drugs in the United States.

Here is a brief summary of the approval process:
  1. Prove the drug is safe on animals.
  2. Prove the drug is safe for humans.
  3. Prove the drug works on a small group of people.
  1. Prove the drug works on a larger group of people.
  2. An application is filed with the FDA for the drug.
  3. The safety and effectiveness of the drug are continued to be monitored.2

medical marijuana illustrationThis is the current process for drugs today. As you can imagine, the process has evolved over time. Once a drug has gone through the approval process, it may or may not be deemed safe for use. An opioid such as OxyContin has gone through this approval process and is only considered safe when monitored by a medical professional.

Another opioid such as heroin is illegal because it is not safe for use. The individual has no way to know how the strength of the heroin as it may include other ingredients with the drug. It is important to note that even if a drug is legal, it should be used with caution. If you are experiencing any side effects, please seek immediate medical attention.

Help For a Drug Problem

If you or someone you love struggles with a drug problem, Skywood Recovery is ready to help. Please call our toll-free, 24-hour helpline, 269-280-4673, to find the high-quality treatment you deserve. Please don’t wait until tomorrow — call now to get sober once and for all.