How Does Alcohol’s Classification Affect Addiction?

How Does Alcohol’s Classification Affect Addiction?In 1970, the government passed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to define specific schedules and classifications for risky substances. Largely dictated by addiction potential and medicinal use, there are five main schedules, including the following:

  • Schedule I – These drugs are deemed the riskiest with no federally recognized medicinal benefits, and notable examples include heroin, LSD, peyote, and marijuana
  • Schedule II – Considered dangerous but less risky than Schedule I substances, these drugs include cocaine, methamphetamines, and oxycodone
  • Schedule III – These drugs have accepted medicinal benefits with a moderate risk of abuse, and examples include hydrocodone, ketamine, and anabolic steroids
  • Schedule IV – These medicinal drugs have a lower risk of abuse and include several sedative-class drugs like Xanax, Valium, Lunesta, and Ambien
  • Schedule V- These drugs are the least restricted and include certain anticonvulsants, appetite suppressants, and cough medications

A license is required to sell or manufacture alcohol with the intent to sell, and people cannot drive while intoxicated or purchase alcohol if they are under age. However, alcohol is not included in the above schedules even though it is one of the most abused substances in the world. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Drugs of Abuse: 2011 Edition notes its specific exclusion while listing alcohol as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant comparable to barbiturates and benzodiazepines.

Alcohol Use Statistics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website provides several statistics on alcohol use, including the following:

  • 52% of adults ages 18 and older are current regular drinkers
  • Another 14% are current infrequent alcohol drinkers
  • 16,000 people died from alcoholic liver disease in 2010
  • 26,000 died from alcohol-induced deaths (excluding accidents and homicides) in 2010

Released in 2013, the CDC’s “Health Behaviors of Adults: United States, 2008-2010” puts the current number of adult US drinkers at a higher percentage, 65%, and provides other data, including the following:

  • One in four adults had more than four drinks in a single day at least once in the past year
  • That number climbs to one in three adults among current alcohol drinkers
  • Adults aged 25 to 44 make up more than 73% of the current drinking demographic
  • The prevalence of regular alcohol use increases with family income

The 21st amendment to the US Constitution reversed prohibition and demonstrated the difficulties in making alcohol a controlled substance. The medicinal benefits of alcohol are limited, and the addiction risk is moderate or worse, but without a CSA classification, alcohol is the most widely used CNS depressant in the world.

Alcohol Abuse Treatment

The widespread use of such an addictive substance leads to higher rates of abuse. If an alcohol addiction takes hold, professional rehabilitation is the most effective option for recovery. Treatment centers offer a variety of possible services, including the following:

  • Medically supervised detoxification with options to minimize the discomfort
  • Screenings and integrated treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders like depression
  • Strategies to counter people, places, memories, and emotions that trigger alcohol cravings
  • Behavioral therapies that promote more positive mental and emotional activity
  • Group meetings to express emotions and build support structures with other patients

Treatment centers also provide aftercare counseling and support, including referrals to local recovery groups.

Alcoholism Help Now

Do you have questions about treatment methods, facilities, and options? Our admissions coordinators are available to answer any questions 24 hours a day, and they can even check health insurance policies for treatment coverage. Our helpline is toll-free, so give us a call now.