Illegal Drugs


Commercial name: Cocaine hydrochloride
Street names: blow, bump, C, candy, Charlie, coke, crack, flake, rock, snow, toot

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. The powdered form of cocaine is either snorted or injected. Crack is cocaine that comes in a rock crystal that is heated and smoked. The term "crack" refers to the crackling sound produced by the rock as it is heated.6

Many cocaine users report that they seek but fail to achieve the same experience as they had with their first use. Some users will increase their dose in an attempt to intensify and prolong the effect, but this can also increase the risk of adverse psychological or physiological effects.7

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Commercial name: MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine)
Street names: Ecstasy, Adam, clarity, Eve, lover's speed, peace, uppers

Ecstasy is a chemical that is usually taken orally as a capsule or tablet. It is a man-made drug that is chemically similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens. It distorts the perception of time and the sense of touch. Taking Ecstasy causes chemical changes in the brain that affect your mood, appetite and sleep.9

Ecstasy causes the excessive release of the important neurotransmitter, serotonin, which controls mood, sleep, pain, appetite, and other behaviors. By releasing large amounts of serotonin, Ecstasy causes the brain to become significantly depleted of this important neurotransmitter, which contributes to the negative behavioral problems (depression, sleep problems, etc) that users often experience for several days after taking Ecstasy.10

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Commercial name: Gamma-hydroxybutyrate
Street names: G, Georgia home boy, grievous bodily harm, liquid ecstasy, soap, scoop, goop, liquid X

GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate, or gammahydroxy-butyric acid) is a depressant that is usually available in odorless and tasteless liquid form. It can also be sold as a powder or pill. It takes effect 10-20 minutes after it is ingested and its effects typically last up to four hours.12

GHB has been used in "date rape." It can be colorless, tasteless, and odorless, and has been added to beverages and ingested without the victim's knowledge. It can also cause anterograde amnesia (loss of memory), which makes it difficult for victims to recall what happened or identify his/her attacker.

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LSDCommercial name: Lysergic acid diethylamide
Street names: acid, blotter, cubes, microdot yellow sunshine, blue heaven
PCPCommercial name: Phencyclidine
Street names: angel dust, boat, hog, love boat, peace pill
MescalineStreet names: Buttons, cactus, mesc, peyote
PsilocybinStreet names: Magic mushrooms, purple passion, shrooms, little smoke

Hallucinogens are strong mood-changing drugs with unpredictable psychological effects.17 LSD, or "acid," is sold as tablets, capsules, liquid, or on absorbent paper.18 PCP is illegally manufactured as tablets, capsules, or colored powder and can be snorted, smoked or eaten.19 Other hallucinogens can come in many forms, including plants and cough suppressants.9

The effects of hallucinogens differ greatly from person to person, time to time, and from drug to drug. This is mainly due to the significant differences in strength, amount, and chemical makeup of active ingredients. Because of their unpredictable nature, the use of hallucinogens can be particularly dangerous. People who abuse PCP for long periods of time report memory loss, difficulties with speech and thinking, depression, and weight loss. These symptoms can persist up to a year after stopping PCP abuse. LSD has an unusual "echo." Many users have flashbacks — sudden repetitions of their LSD experiences — days or months after they stop using the drug.20 Hallucinogen-related deaths (with the possible exception of MDMA and PCP) often result from accidental injury or suicide from the uncontrolled actions and emotions caused by intoxication.

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Commercial name: Diacetylmorphine
Street names: smack, horse, brown sugar, dope, H, junk, skag, skunk, white horse, China white; cheese (with OTC cold medicine & antihistamine)

Heroin is a highly addictive white or brown powder or brown sticky tar made from opium poppies. Users may snort, smoke or inject it. Heroin is a depressant. It enters the brain, where it is converted to morphine and binds to receptors known as opioid receptors. These receptors are located in many areas of the brain that deal with pain but also within the brain stem — important for automatic processes critical for life, such as breathing, and blood pressure. Heroin overdoses frequently involve a suppression of respiration.23

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Commercial substances: Solvents (paint thinners, gasoline, glues); gases (butane, propane, aerosol propellants, nitrous oxide); nitrites (isoamyl, isobutyl, cyclohexyl)
Street names: laughing gas, poppers, snappers, whippets

Inhalants are volatile substances or fumes from products such as glue or paint thinner that are sniffed or "huffed" to cause a high. Inhalants affect the brain with great speed and force and keep oxygen from reaching the lungs. Animal and human research shows that most inhalants are extremely toxic. Perhaps the most significant toxic effect of chronic exposure to inhalants is widespread and long-lasting damage to the brain and other parts of the nervous system.26 The intoxication produced by inhalants usually lasts just a few minutes; therefore, users often try to extend the "high" by continuing to inhale repeatedly over several hours, which increases the risk.27

In addition to these physical and mental health problems, recent research shows that inhalant use is associated with symptoms of depression. Between 2004 and 2006, an estimated 218,000 youths aged 12-17 used inhalants and also experienced depression in the past year. The same research showed that depressed teens were more than three times as likely to start using inhalants than teens with no symptoms of depression. The reverse is also true, showing that teens often started using inhalants before depression began.28

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Commercial name: Ketalar SV
Street names: cat Valium, K, Special K, vitamin K

Ketamine is an odorless, tasteless drug that is found in liquid, pill, and powder form. Ketamine was developed as an anesthetic for veterinarians to use on animals. 31 Ketamine is classified as a type of disassociative drug. It alters the actions of the neurotransmitter glutamate throughout the brain.32 Glutamate is involved in perception of pain, responses to the environment, and memory.

Ketamine distorts sounds and sensations and makes users feel detached from reality. Some ketamine experiences involve a terrifying feeling of almost complete sensory detachment that is likened to a near-death experience sometimes referred to as "the K-hole."33

Ketamine is odorless and tasteless and possesses amnesia-inducing properties, the drug is sometimes added to the beverage of unsuspecting victims and used in the commission of sexual assaults, referred to as "drug rape."34

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Alternate name: Cannabis
Street names: Blunt, dope, ganja, grass, herb, joint, bud, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, green, trees, smoke, sinsemilla, skunk, weed

Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant. Marijuana has a chemical in it called tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. All forms of marijuana are mind-altering (psychoactive). In other words, they change how the brain works. A lot of other chemicals are found in marijuana, too — about 400 of them, some of which are carcinogenic.46 Marijuana is addictive with more teens in treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined.47

Using marijuana can also lead to disturbed perceptions and thoughts, and marijuana use can worsen psychotic symptoms in people who have schizophrenia.48

Additionally, there are higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thinking among people who use marijuana when compared to people who don't use.49 Teens who started using marijuana before age 15 are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression in early adulthood.50 A new study shows that smoking marijuana is associated with a 40% increase risk of psychosis, and the risk is greater among regular and frequent users.51

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Commercial name: Methamphetamine, Desoxyn
Street names: meth, ice, crank, chalk, crystal, fire, glass, go fast, speed

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly addictive synthetic chemical that acts as a stimulant. It is snorted, injected, smoked, or swallowed. Most of the methamphetamine abused in this country comes from foreign or domestic superlabs, although it can also be made in small, illegal laboratories, where its production endangers the people in the labs, their neighbors, and the environment.54

Creating a sense of energy, meth can push the body faster and further than it's safe to go. It increases the heart rate, blood pressure, and the risk of stroke.55

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The information posted on this web page originates from the Above the Influence ("ATI") website ("Site") sponsored by the Office of National Drug Control Policy ("ONDCP") and the National Institute on Drug Abuse Commonly Abused Drugs

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