NOTE FROM NIH: Most drugs of abuse are addictive. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences and by long-lasting changes in the brain. People who are addicted have strong cravings for the drug, making it difficult to stop using. Most drugs alter a person’s thinking and judgment, which can increase the risk of injury or death from drugged driving or infectious diseases (e.g., HIV/AIDS, hepatitis) from unsafe sexual practices or needle sharing. Drug use during pregnancy can lead to neonatal abstinence syndrome, a condition in which a baby can suffer from dependence and withdrawal symptoms after birth. Pregnancy-related issues are listed in the chart below for drugs where there is enough scientific evidence to connect the drug use to negative effects. However, most drugs could potentially harm an unborn baby.
In the charts, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) schedule indicates the drug’s acceptable medical use and its potential for abuse or dependence. More information can be found on the DEA website. For more comprehensive information about treatment options for drug addiction, see NIDA’s Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition).
Click here for: Commonly Abused Drugs Charts