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The following individual drugs listed under their respective family groups (ie. barbiturates, benzodiazepines, opiates etc) are the most frequently sought after by drug users and as such are prohibited or otherwise heavily regulated for use in most countries:
- Among the Barbiturates, Pentobarbital (Nembutal®), Secobarbital (Seconal®), and Amobarbital (Amytal®)
- Among the Benzodiazepines, temazepam (Restoril®; Normison®; Euhypnos®), flunitrazepam (Rohypnol®; Hypnor®; Flunipam®) and nimetazepam (Erimin®)
- Cannabis products, e.g. marijuana, hashish and hashish oil
- Among the Dissociatives, phencyclidine (PCP), and ketamine are the most sought after.
- Hallucinogens such as LSD, mescaline, peyote, and psilocybin
- Among the Narcotics, it is opiates such as morphine and heroin, and opioids such as hydrocodone (Vicodin®; Hycodan®), oxycodone (Percocet®; Oxycontin®) and hydromorphone (Dilaudid®)
- Sedatives such as GHB, and methaqualone (Quaalude®)
- Stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine (Adderall®), Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®), methamphetamine (Desoxyn®), MDMA (Ecstasy), methcathinone, and methylphenidate (Ritalin®).
The regulation of the above drugs varies in many countries; cannabis and hashish, for example, are sometimes legal for personal use, though not sale. In some countries Dextromethorphan is available in ordinary over-the-counter products such as cough medicines. Alcohol possession and consumption by adults is today widely banned only in Islamic countries and various parts of India. The United States, Finland, and Canada banned alcohol in the early part of the 20th century; this was called Prohibition. Although alcohol prohibition was repealed in the United States, there are still parts of the United States that do not allow alcohol sales, even though alcohol possession may be legal. Tobacco is not illegal for adults in most countries, with the notable exception of Bhutan (as of 2005). In some parts of the world, provisions are made for the use of traditional sacraments like Ayahuasca, Iboga, and Peyote. In Gabon, Africa, iboga (Tabernanthe iboga) has been declared a national treasure and is used in rites of the Bwiti religion. The active ingredient, ibogaine , is proposed as a treatment of opioid withdrawal and various substance use disorders.
In countries where alcohol and tobacco are legal, certain measures are frequently undertaken to discourage use of these drugs. For example, packages of alcohol and tobacco sometimes communicate warnings directed towards the consumer, communicating the potential risks of partaking in the use of the substance. These drugs also frequently have special sin taxes associated with the purchase thereof, in order to recoup the losses associated with public funding for the health problems the use causes in long-term users. Restrictions on advertising also exist in many countries, and often a state holds a monopoly on manufacture, distribution, marketing and/or the sale of these drugs.
In the United States, there is considerable legal debate about the impact these laws have had on Americans' civil rights. Critics claim that the War on Drugs has lowered the evidentiary burden required for a legal search of a suspect's dwelling or vehicle, or to intercept a suspect's communications. However, many of the searches that result in drug arrests are often "commission" to search a person or the person's property.
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