The Difference Between an Illegal and a Controlled Substance

The Difference Between an Illegal and a Controlled Substance

Illegal drugs, like cocaine, heroin, marijuana and meth, are also classified as controlled substances

The government classifies many illicit and legal drugs as controlled substances based on their health risks, addictive potential, and medical use.  All prescription drugs are controlled, but not illegal, because they have been deemed to have a legitimate medical use. Illegal drugs, like cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine, are also classified as controlled substances, but are illegal to possess under any circumstances. Knowing the difference between what is illegal or just controlled can help California residents better understand the risks of using a particular substance.

What Are Illegal Substances?

Illegal substances/drugs are drugs, which are controlled by the government and are illegal in certain situations, such as without a prescription.  Included in the following are some examples of how a substance’s legality is determined:

  • Location
  • Government rules/regulations
  • Prescription

The law is different for each state and each country.  A drug can be deemed illegal in one country but not another.  In Ecuador for instance, cannabis is legal to have (even without a prescription), whereas in California, one must have a prescription to legally possess cannabis.  Essentially, the government rules and regulations dictate what is deemed an illegal and/or controlled substance.  Furthermore, a controlled substance like Valium is illegal to have without a prescription, even though the drug itself is not illegal.

What Are Controlled Substances?

A controlled substance is a drug and/or chemical whose manufacture, possession, and use are regulated by the government.  Controlled substances may include illegal substances, such as above, and prescription medications.  Included in the following are some examples on how controlled substances are classified:

  • Some precursor chemicals
  • Schedules
  • Psychoactive substances

Controlled substances are all subject of legislative control.  Some precursor chemicals, which are used to manufacture and/or produce illegal drugs, are considered controlled substances in many countries.  Controlled substances are classified by schedules and mainly consist of psychoactive substances.  Psychoactive drugs are substances that act on the nervous system to alter one’s state of consciousness, modify perceptions, and change moods.  However, controlled substances do not include many prescription items such as antibiotics.

Drug Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know in California is experiencing an addiction, please call our toll-free helpline today.  Our compassionate counselors can assist you 24 hours a day by answering your addiction questions and helping you locate the treatment that is best for you.  Stop just wishing your life were better and call us today!

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