Why Are Some Drugs Illegal?

Category : Sex Addiction Information

Why Are Some Drugs Illegal?Drug use and abuse are not new phenomenon. Humans have long known about the potential positives and negatives of using various substances. Medicinal and recreational or spiritual use of various plants and compounds has been a part of society for centuries, but regulating this use is relatively new. As individuals began to specialize in the use of medicinal drugs or creation of psychoactive ones, “social and religious rituals arose as a way of controlling their use…The general population could be protected from harm” (Paul Gahlinger, Illegal Drugs: A Complete Guide to Their History, Chemistry, Use and Abuse). As our society and culture evolved and refined, rituals, guidelines, and social mores in relation to substance use became laws.

Drug Regulation and Public Health

The core logic behind drug regulation and making some drugs illegal is keeping people healthy. Gahlinger explains that “Illegal drugs are not necessarily those that are most poisonous, but those that result in other hazards such as addiction…If a drug causes someone to act in ways that are offensive to others, it presents a threat not only to the individual but to the whole society.” However some of these drugs also have incredible medicinal potential, so the Controlled Substances Act categorizes drugs based on potential harm and potential usefulness and sets guidelines for use based on this assessment.

The Legal Status of Drugs

Some drugs, such as hallucinogens like MDMA and LSD, have no perceived medical benefit but have the potential to create addiction and changes in behavior that can endanger users and those around them. These substances are considered illegal for any use, and Gahlinger shares that there are 178 drugs deemed illegal in the United States. However other drugs such as opioids can have similar negative effects on personal and public health, but these substances have important medical roles. Additional substances such as glue and paint thinner can be abused as inhalants, but they have practical use and so are not illegal. Some addictive substances, like alcohol and tobacco, remain legal despite known negative effects on health and behavior, as, “they are an accepted part of American culture” (Gahlinger). Cultural and social factors play into the regulation of drugs in addition to the facts about and effects of the substances themselves.

Getting Help for Addiction

While using some drugs is considered a crime, addiction is not. Addiction is a disease that requires professional treatment and support for long-term recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with the abuse of any substance, legal or not, we can help. Call our toll-free helpline to get connected to resources for intervention and treatment. You can find a drug-free future. Call today.