Licit vs. Illicit Drug Use

Sometimes when words are used over and over again, they can lose their meaning. Or the depth of its meaning gets lost. For instance, some people might know that the phrase “illicit drugs” refer to  drugs that are “illegal” or “forbidden”. However, many people don’t realize that these drugs are not only illegal to use, but they are also illegal to sell and make. This article will review the differences between licit and illicit drugs and why drugs have been classified as illegal.

The word licit means “within the law”. In other words, anything that is licit is allowed or legal. Licit drugs include alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. It is legal to purchase and use these substances. Legal drug use include prescription drugs that are used according to doctor’s instruction as well as by the person for whom it was prescribed. Legal drugs also include medicines used for an illness and over the counter drugs when used as directed.

However, illicit drugs are those that have been classified as illegal because they pose a threat to one’s health and in some cases, their life. As a result, these drugs might also be dangerous to society as well as the national and even global economy. Examples of illicit drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Crack cocaine
  • LSD
  • Ecstasy
  • Mushrooms
  • PCP

In addition to being illegal, some drugs are classified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into groups based on risk of abuse or harm. Those drugs with high risk and no benefits are banned from medical practice and are considered to be Schedule I drugs.  Of the drugs listed above heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, and ecstasy are considered to be Schedule I drugs. Schedule II drugs are also considered to be dangerous, particularly because they can create a physical and psychological dependence. These include methadone, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine. The classification of drugs continue with III, IV, and V, depending upon how dangerous it may be.

Despite these classifications and despite the fact that drugs are considered licit or illicit, many men and women would argue that even legal drugs, such as alcohol and nicotine, can be incredibly harmful. For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nicotine kills over 400,000 Americans each year. And, more deaths are caused each year by tobacco than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. Furthermore, a British study revealed that alcohol was the most harmful drug overall compared to the effects of other drugs. For instance, alcohol is a factor involved in the cause of thousands of car accidents and a large percentage of crime.

Because of this, you could argue that the reasoning behind making certain drugs legal and other illegal is nonsense since alcohol and tobacco are legal and they are killing people every day. With this in mind, it’s important to not let the law decide for you when it comes to substance use. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean that it’s going to be safe to use it.

If you’re drinking or using another type of substance on a regular basis, you may be at risk for an addiction. Contact a mental health professional for help today.

 

If you or someone you know has a problem with either licit or illicit drugs, contact us today to see how we can help: 800-208-1211

 

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