DEA Guide Offers Insight for Parents on Drug Abuse Trends

cover of DEA guide drugs of abuse

In June 2017, the Drug Enforcement Administration released its new edition of the Drugs of Abuse guideline. While much of this document is directed toward medical and law enforcement professionals, there is plenty that parents can learn from this report.

First and foremost among is getting an accurate picture of the drug-laden environment our kids are living in—an environment that may be elusive from a parent’s viewpoint. Here’s how the DEA report is constructed:

  • The DEA lists drugs to be controlled or restricted into different categories based on their potential harm to individuals and society. They are listed as schedules I through V.
  • Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use in the United States. Included in this list are heroin, LSD and ecstasy (MDMA).
  • Schedule II drugs also have a high potential for abuse but there is some accepted medical use of the drug in the U.S. Abuse of these drugs can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
  • Drugs on Schedules III through V have less and less potential for abuse and greater medical uses. Abuse of these drugs can still lead to moderate dependence. For example, codeine products, benzodiazepines like Valium or Xanax and cough medicines.

Possible Abuse of 285 Drugs

These are the most dangerous drugs our youth may be encountering. How many drugs are listed on Schedule I? An astonishing two hundred sixteen.

How many are on Schedule II? Another sixty-nine.

Just in these two categories, there’s 285 drugs in circulation in the United States that your child could encounter, experiment with and get hooked on.

Of course, they could easily also run into cough medicines, codeine products, Valium or Xanax, taking the numbers even higher.

It is an education for any parent to review this list of drugs. Some of the drugs will sound familiar because they have been in the headlines. Like these:

  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Acetyl Fentanyl
  • Carfentanil
  • Methylfentanyl
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cathinone

Parents may also have read about the drug 25I-NBOMe (also referred to as N-Bomb) – they may have seen news on the fatal outcome of abusing this synthetic drug that has driven a few people to self-destruction.

This list always changes, always has new drugs added to it because that’s the new operating mode for illicit manufacturers of drugs – create new ones that might be legal for a little while. Then when they are banned or get bad reputations among drug users, new ones will be added to the list.

Helping Parents Meet this Challenge

Just scrolling through the list is enough to educate a parent on the vital necessity of educating their children very thoroughly on the dangers of touching any of these substances.

We realize it’s hard to know where to start, what to say. Narconon Ojai has resources that can help a parent keep their children safe. Check out the following pages:

Narconon Ojai Parent Center with information on dozens of drugs

Are We Failing Our Kids with Insufficient Drug Prevention?

What You Can Do About Marijuana Abuse

What You Can Do About Hallucinogen Abuse

Preventing Heroin Abuse

And if a person has already lost their way to one or more of these drugs, Narconon Ojai can help. For more than fifty years, the Narconon drug rehab program has been guiding individuals back to sobriety and teaching them how to make that new sober life productive and enjoyable. When you or someone you care about needs help, call us. We can help you understand both the problem and the lasting solution.


Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.