The object of this contribution based on a systematic review of the literature is to examine to what degree the level of use and potency play a role in regulatory policies for alcohol, other psychoactive substances and gambling, and whether there is an evidence base for this role. Level of use is usually defined around a behavioural pattern of the user (for example, cigarettes smoked per day, or average ethanol use in grams per day), while potency is defined as a property or characteristic of the substance. For all substances examined (alcohol, tobacco, opioids, cannabis) and gambling, both dimensions were taken into consideration in the formulation of most regulatory policies. However, the associations between both dimensions and regulatory policies were not systematic, and not always based on evidence. Future improvements are suggested.