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What’s the Difference Between Licit and Illicit Drugs and Why Does it Matter?

When people use words over and over again, they begin not to be believed by loved ones who have lived through the struggle with addiction. The real pain of seeing a loved one lose their health, jobs, and other opportunities due to addiction can never be described to anyone outside the experience. When trying to tell people about it, it helps to have some terminology for explaining what is happening and why it matters.

Licit Drugs

Anything that is deemed ‘licit,’ is within the law, or legal. Legal drugs on the market include caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. People can legally go anywhere they are sold and purchase them (at a certain age). Prescription drugs are also licit drugs, which are legal with a doctor’s orders. These include medicines used for illness and over-the-counter drugs.

Illicit Drugs

Illicit drugs have been classified as illegal because they pose a threat to people and their lives. The drugs are not only dangerous to that person but also dangerous to society and even the national and global economy. Illicit drugs include:

  • Cocaine
  • Mushrooms
  • Meth
  • Heroin

Some of the drugs are classified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into groups based on the risk of abuse or harm. They come with high risk and no benefits. Schedule I drugs are the highest risk, compared with Schedule II drugs, with lower risk but still the same challenges. These include methadone, morphine, and codeine.

Why it Matters

When thinking about the terminology people use to describe drugs, it makes no difference to the people who are suffering from addiction or love someone with an addiction. Whether licit or illicit, drugs like nicotine and alcohol can be absolutely harmful. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, suicides, and murders combined. Alcohol was the most harmful drug compared to others. Alcohol is a factor in thousands of car accidents and a large percentage of crime. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to dependence and addiction. Using certain drugs that are prescribed for pain can lead to addiction. The use of codeine can lead to addiction. There are so many reasons why licit and illicit drugs are important to know about, not only to understand the terms, but also to figure out how to help a loved one who needs help. Professional help is on the horizon for those who reach out or ask for help for a loved one. 

The Guest House is based on a Therapeutic Communty model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. What we do is give you a way to live free and clear of the cloudiness addiction brings. We provide you hope by offering resources, tools, counseling, and more to support your rehab journey of healing. Call us to find out more: 855-483-7800.