Prescription drugs are classified, or ranked, on their habit forming potential. Those that have a higher risk are more strictly regulated. While addiction potential isn’t a criterion, it is assumed that those drugs that cause dependence and tolerance are more likely to be abused and lead to addiction.
The ranking goes from Schedule IV, the lowest abuse potential, up to Schedule II, the most restricted, with the most risk. Schedule I drugs are not allowed to be sold as a prescription at all.
There is no simple relationship between addiction and the type or the restrictions placed on a drug. This is because addiction stems from many factors besides the chemical involved. Dependence and tolerance can be measured as a consequence of taking a drug; this is the physical side of addiction. What cannot be easily measured is the psychological contribution.
While virtually any medication-whether by prescription or over-the-counter (OTC)-can be abused, the three primary classes of prescription drugs with the potential for abuse and dependence are opioids, amphetamines, and benzodiazepines. Please click on the following for more information about specific types of prescription drug addiction: