The U.S. DEA has created schedule classes to warn consumers of the dangers drugs, but they aren’t always realistic. Keep reading to find out more about our unique drug danger scale.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has created a classification system, whereby all drugs, substances, and chemicals are categorized into one of five “schedules.” These classes are determined by several factors including abuse rate and danger of psychological or physical impacts. According to the scale, Schedule I are the most dangerous drugs and Schedule V are the least dangerous.

While their scheduling system has been a handy tool for consistency in the medical and legal world, the classifications are not always realistic for laypersons. For example, marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug, and is therefore more dangerous (according to the DEA) then Meth or Cocaine (Schedule II drugs). As such, we’ve created a more realistic and informative Drug Danger Scale to help our readers better understand the nature and danger of drugs, whether prescription or illicit. With the number of prescription addictions on the rise, it is more important than ever to know the true hazards associated with your pills.

Prescription Danger Levels

Whether we have trouble sleeping or need help with pain management, millions of Americans are taking prescription medications. If you are wondering about the safety of your prescription, take a look below to find out how your pills rank.

Ambien: Low Danger

While we have listed Ambien as “Low Danger,” it should be noted that all prescription medications should be taken according to your doctor’s instructions. Anything else can and will pose a danger to your health and wellbeing. That being said, Ambien, when taken as a short-term sleep aid (and in accordance with your doctor’s instructions) poses little danger. Ambien has been known to distort time and slow the reactions of the user, and should never be mixed with other substances such as alcohol or stimulants. While it can be mildly habit forming, it does not produce a typical “high” like other substances.

Oxycontin: Moderate Danger

This prescription medication can provide temporary pain relief, but is know to pose a danger of addiction. The high euphoric feeling and painful withdrawals can cause many users to abuse the drug and use it recreationally. As an Opiate, Oxycontin produces similar effects to that of Heroin, making this a potentially dangerous drug, especially if taken off prescription. Tolerance, dependence, physical ailments, mental impacts, overdose, and death are real possibilities, especially if used recreationally. As such, use this drug sparingly and only under the strict supervision of your doctor.

Adderall: Low Danger

Though Adderall contains an amphetamine, if taken as prescribed, it can have miraculous effects on those who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). While this drug has helped many with this condition to focus on work or school, it is also popularly used by college students who want to binge-study. If taken without a prescription, however, the user may experience withdrawal symptoms because the drug acts on dopamine receptors. As such, there is a possibility that Adderall can be habit forming. Using this against a doctor’s instructions or for prolonged periods of time can have damaging effects on the mental and physical health of the individual.

While these drugs represent some fairly popular prescription medications, they may not be the ones you are taking. Check out our full Drug Danger Scale to find out more about the impact of drugs and other substances on your body and on society.