- A drug or other substance that is tightly controlled by the government because it may be abused or cause addiction. The control applies to the way the substance is made, used, handled, stored, and distributed. Controlled substances include opioids, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and anabolic steroids. Controlled substances with known medical use, such as morphine, Valium, and Ritalin, are available only by prescription from a licensed medical professional. Other controlled substances, such as heroin and LSD, have no known medical use and are illegal in the United States.