Commonly Used Illegal Drugs

Commonly used illegal drugs include marijuana, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines and club drugs. This list provides examples of their commercial and street names, how they are administered, their effects, health risks and other information.

Cannabinoids
Substances: Category & NameExamples of Commercial & Street NamesDEA Schedule*/ How Administered**
MarijuanaBlunt, dope, ganja, grass, herb, joint, bud, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, green, trees, smoke, sinsemilla, skunk, weedI/smoked, swallowed
HashishBoom, gangster, hash, hash oil, hempI/smoked, swallowed

Acute Effects: Euphoria; relaxation; slowed reaction time; distorted sensory perception; impaired balance and coordination; increased heart rate and appetite; impaired learning, memory; anxiety; panic attacks; psychosis

Health Risks: Cough; frequent respiratory infections; possible mental health decline; addiction

Opioids
Substances: Category & NameExamples of Commercial & Street NamesDEA Schedule*/ How Administered**
HeroinDiacetylmorphine: smack, horse, brown sugar, dope, H, junk, skag, skunk, white horse, China white; cheese (with OTC cold medicine and antihistamine)I/injected, smoked, snorted
OpiumLaudanum, paregoric: big O, black stuff, block, gum, hopII, III, V/swallowed, smoked

Acute Effects: Euphoria; drowsiness; impaired coordination; dizziness; confusion; nausea; sedation; feeling of heaviness in the body; slowed or arrested breathing

Health Risks: Constipation; endocarditis; hepatitis; HIV; addiction; fatal overdose

Stimulants
Substances: Category & NameExamples of Commercial & Street NamesDEA Schedule*/ How Administered**
CocaineCocaine hydrochloride: blow, bump, C, candy, Charlie, coke, crack, flake, rock, snow, tootII/snorted, smoked, injected
AmphetamineBiphetamine, Dexedrine: bennies, black beauties, crosses, hearts, LA turnaround, speed, truck drivers, uppersII/swallowed, snorted, smoked, injected
MethamphetamineDesoxyn: meth, ice, crank, chalk, crystal, fire, glass, go fast, speedII/swallowed, snorted, smoked, injected

Acute Effects: Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, metabolism; feelings of exhilaration; increased energy, mental alertness; tremors; reduced appetite; irritability; anxiety; panic; paranoia; violent behavior; psychosis

Health Risks: Weight loss; insomnia; cardiac or cardiovascular complications; stroke; seizures; addiction
Also, for cocaine – nasal damage from snorting
Also, for methamphetamine – severe dental problems

Club Drugs
Substances: Category & NameExamples of Commercial & Street NamesDEA Schedule*/ How Administered**
MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine)Ecstasy, Adam, clarity, Eve, lovers’ speed, Molly, peace, uppersI/swallowed, snorted, injected
Flunitrazepam***Rohypnol (date rape drug): forget-me pill, Mexican Valium, R2, roach, Roche, roofies, roofinol, rope, rophies IV/swallowed, snorted
GHB***Gamma-hydroxybutyrate: G, Georgia home boy, grievous bodily harm, liquid ecstasy, soap, scoop, goop, liquid XI/swallowed

Acute Effects:

  • MDMA – mild hallucinogenic effects; increased tactile sensitivity, empathic feelings; lowered inhibition; anxiety; chills; sweating; teeth clenching; muscle cramping
  • Flunitrazepam – sedation; muscle relaxation; confusion; memory loss; dizziness; impaired coordination
  • GHB – drowsiness; nausea; headache; disorientation; loss of coordination; memory loss

Health Risks:

  • MDMA – sleep disturbances; depression; impaired memory; hyperthermia; addiction
  • Flunitrazepam – addiction
  • GHB – unconsciousness; seizures; coma
Dissociative Drugs
Substances: Category & NameExamples of Commercial & Street NamesDEA Schedule*/ How Administered**
KetamineKetalar SV: cat Valium, K, Special K, vitamin KIII/injected, snorted, smoked
PCP and analogsPhencyclidine: angel dust, boat, hog, love boat, peace pillI, II/swallowed, smoked, injected
Salvia divinorumSalvia, Shepherdess’s Herb, Maria Pastora, magic mint, Sally-DNot scheduled/chewed, swallowed, smoked
Dextromethorphan (DXM)Found in some cough and cold medications: Robotripping, Robo, Triple CNot scheduled/swallowed

Acute Effects: Feelings of being separate from one’s body and environment; impaired motor function

Also, for ketamine – analgesia; impaired memory; delirium; respiratory depression and arrest; death
Also, for PCP and analogs – analgesia; psychosis; aggression; violence; slurred speech; loss of coordination; hallucinations
Also, for DXM – euphoria; slurred speech; confusion; dizziness; distorted visual perceptions

Health Risks: Anxiety; tremors; numbness; memory loss; nausea

 

Hallucinogens
Substances: Category & NameExamples of Commercial & Street NamesDEA Schedule*/ How Administered**
LSDLysergic acid diethylamide: acid, blotter, cubes, microdot, yellow sunshine, blue heavenI/swallowed, absorbed through mouth tissues
MescalineButtons, cactus, mesc, peyoteI/swallowed, smoked
PsilocybinMagic mushrooms, purple passion, shrooms, little smokeI/swallowed

Acute Effects: Altered states of perception and feeling; hallucinations; nausea
Also, for LSD and mescaline – increased body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure; loss of appetite; sweating; sleeplessness; numbness; dizziness; weakness; tremors; impulsive behavior; rapid shifts in emotion

Also, for psilocybin – nervousness; paranoia; panic

Health Risks: Also, for LSD – Flashbacks, Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder

Other Compounds
Substances: Category & NameExamples of Commercial & Street NamesDEA Schedule*/ How Administered**
Anabolic steroidsAnadrol, Oxandrin, Durabolin, Depo-Testosterone, Equipoise: roids, juice, gym candy, pumpersIII/injected, swallowed, applied to skin
InhalantsSolvents (paint thinners, gasoline, glues); gases (butane, propane, aerosol propellants, nitrous oxide); nitrites (isoamyl, isobutyl, cyclohexyl): laughing gas, poppers, snappers, whippetsNot scheduled/inhaled through nose or mouth

Acute Effects
Steroids – no intoxication effects
high blood pressure; blood clotting and cholesterol changes; liver cysts; hostility and aggression; acne; in adolescents—premature stoppage of growth; in males—prostate cancer, reduced sperm production, shrunken testicles, breast enlargement; in females—menstrual irregularities, development of beard and other masculine characteristics
Inhalants  (varies by chemical) stimulation; loss of inhibition; headache; nausea or vomiting; slurred speech; loss of motor coordination; wheezing

Health Risks:
Steroids – high blood pressure; blood clotting and cholesterol changes; liver cysts; hostility and aggression; acne;—in adolescentspremature stoppage of growth; in males—prostate cancer, reduced sperm production, shrunken testicles, breast enlargement; in females—menstrual irregularities, development of beard and other masculine characteristics
Inhalants – cramps; muscle weakness; depression; memory impairment; damage to cardiovascular and nervous systems; unconsciousness; sudden death

* Schedule I and II drugs have a high potential for misuse. They require greater storage security and have a quota on manufacturing, among other restrictions. Schedule I drugs are available for research only and have no approved medical use; Schedule II drugs are available only by prescription (unrefillable) and require a form for ordering. Schedule III and IV drugs are available by prescription, may have five refills in 6 months, and may be ordered orally. Some Schedule V drugs are available over the counter.

** Some of the health risks are directly related to the route of drug administration. For example, injection drug use can increase the risk of infection through needle contamination with staphylococci, HIV, hepatitis and other organisms.

*** Associated with sexual assaults.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Commonly abused drugs. [Online]. Retrieved May 20, 2013 from http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/cadchart_2.pdf

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