What Are Controlled Substances?


Texas drug lawyer Stephen Hamilton explains what defines controlled substances.

Simply put, a controlled substance is a drug that cannot be possessed legally without a legitimate prescription. Think of narcotics, for example. Some controlled substances may be available by prescription in other states but because they cannot legally be prescribed in Texas, that makes them illegal to possess here for any reason—no exceptions.

So, having a prescription doesn’t necessarily mean it’s legal!

All controlled substances are drugs, but that is not the case for all drugs. Over-the-counter medications, for example, are drugs but they are not regulated—that is, they are readily accessible to you without much, if any, limitation.

Additionally, certain drugs are regulated in Texas but still are not classified as controlled substances. To illustrate, alcohol is also a drug, but Texas legislature does not define it as controlled. That said, it is still controlled in the sense that you cannot purchase or publicly consume it unless you are at least 21 years old. But it is not a controlled substance that is restricted among the adult population.