Is Valium a narcotic?

No. Valium is neither a medical nor a legal narcotic. Instead, Valium is considered a Schedule IV drug, meaning that there is potential for abuse, but Valium is not as dangerous or addictive as many other drugs. More on Valium scheduling and addiction liability here.

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No. Valium is not a narcotic.

We review the difference between medical and legal narcotics here. Plus, information on the addiction liability of Valium. And we invite your Valium  questions at the end. We try to respond to all legitimate Valium questions with a personal and prompt reply.

Medical uses for Valium

Valium (diazepam) has a few different uses, including anxiety relief, the treatment of muscle spasms, and calming seizures. But Valium is habit forming, so it’s typically only prescribed for a few weeks at a time. This prevents addiction or physical dependence.

Is Valium a medical narcotic?

No. Valium is not a medical narcotic.

Only opiate and opioid medications are referred to as “narcotics” in a medical setting. Opiates (like heroin or morphine or their derivatives) slow brain activity and cause sedative effects, causing dizziness and drowsiness, sometimes even the loss of consciousness. Opiates are typically used to manage moderate to severe pain, although they can have other therapeutic applications. Although Valium has many of these same sedative effects and Valium get you high, it is not related to opium. Therefore, Valium is not considered a narcotic by medical definition.

Is Valium a legal narcotic?

No. Valium is not a legal narcotic.

Legal narcotics can include drugs that considered to be medical narcotics, but the category also includes a few other substances, including cocaine and marijuana. The term “narcotic” can be used to refer to all illicit drugs or controlled substances, but the US Drug Enforcement Administration does not follow this usage in their official documentation. Therefore, because Valium is not a Schedule I, II or III drug, it is not considered to be a controlled substance by the DEA.

Why is Valium a Schedule IV drug?

Valium is considered to have low potential for abuse relative to Schedule II and III drugs. Valium is not as widespread a problem as drugs in higher schedules, and tends to mostly become problematic with long-term use, or in those with a history of abusing different drugs.

Is Valium addictive?

Valium can be addictive. Valium creates a physical dependence in users, which causes them to experience withdrawals if they try to stop the drug abruptly. However, physical dependence on a drug is not always the same as an addiction. Addicts usually experience cravings, exhibit drug-seeking behavior, and take escalating doses of the medication. Someone using Valium as directed by a doctor may have a dependence, but not an addiction.

Valium abuse

Valium can be abused and is often taken in combination with other drugs.   How long does Valium stay in your system?  Although Valium doesn’t attach to the same receptors in the brain as opiates, it does have sedative effects which a person might appreciate. And some people prefer a Valium high to other types of euphoric sensation. But the line between recreational use and abuse is very sensitive. Valium is highly addictive, and Valium addicts begin to crave the drug and experience withdrawals if they aren’t able to obtain it.

PROs of keeping Valium a Schedule IV drug

Valium is a great medication for people who suffer from anxiety or sleep disorders. It works well for short-term treatment of minor disturbances. Most of the common side effects of the medication are minor, so it’s fairly safe.

CONs of keeping Valium a Schedule IV drug

The dependence and tolerance that develop with long-term use can be problematic. The drug may become less effective for someone over time. The withdrawal effects and addictive potential mean that Valium should only be prescribed short-term, to those without a history of previous addiction.

Valium narcotic questions

Do you have questions about Valium? Please leave us your questions about Valium use, abuse or addiction. We will be happy to answer your questions with a personal reply.

Reference Sources: Drug Enforcement Administration: Controlled Substance Schedules
Drug Enforcement Administration: Narcotics
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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