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Commonly Abused Drugs Chart

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Lists substances of abuse, including tobacco, alcohol, illicit and prescription drugs, listing their common and street names, how they are generally administered, and their potentially harmful health effects.

Revised: March 2011
Author: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Tobacco
Category & Name Examples of Commercial & Street Names DEA Schedule How Administered*
Nicotine Found in cigarettes, cigars, bidis, and smokeless tobacco (snuff, spit tobacco, chew) Not scheduled Smoked, snorted, chewed

Acute Effects - Increased blood pressure and heart rate

Health Risks - Chronic lung disease; cardiovascular disease; stroke; cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, cervix, kidney, bladder, and acute myeloid leukemia; adverse pregnancy outcomes; addiction

Alcohol
Category & Name Examples of Commercial & Street Names DEA Schedule How Administered*
Alcohol (ethyl alcohol) Found in liquor, beer, and wine Not scheduled Swallowed

Acute Effects - In low doses, euphoria, mild stimulation, relaxation, lowered inhibitions; in higher doses, drowsiness, slurred speech, nausea, emotional volatility, loss of coordination, visual distortions, impaired memory, sexual dysfunction, loss of consciousness

Health Risks - Increased risk of injuries, violence, fetal damage (in pregnant women); depression; neurologic deficits; hypertension; liver and heart disease; addiction; fatal overdose

Cannabinoids
Category & Name Examples of Commercial & Street Names DEA Schedule How Administered*
Marijuana Blunt, dope, ganja, grass, herb, joint, bud, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, green, trees, smoke, sinsemilla, skunk, weed I ?Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse. 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. Smoked, swallowed
Hashish Boom, gangster, hash, hash oil, hemp I ?Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse. 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. 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
Category & Name Examples of Commercial & Street Names DEA Schedule How Administered*
Heroin Diacetylmorphine: smack, horse, brown sugar, dope, H, junk, skag, skunk, white horse, China white; cheese (with OTC cold medicine and antihistamine) I ?Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse. 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. Injected, smoked, snorted
Opium Laudanum, paregoric: big O, black stuff, block, gum, hop II, III, V ?Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse. They require greater storage security and have a quota on manufacturing, among other restrictions. Schedule II drugs are available only by prescription (unrefillable) and require a form for ordering. Schedule III 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. 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
Category & Name Examples of Commercial & Street Names DEA Schedule How Administered*
Cocaine Cocaine hydrochloride: blow, bump, C, candy, Charlie, coke, crack, flake, rock, snow, toot II ?Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse. They require greater storage security and have a quota on manufacturing, among other restrictions. Schedule II drugs are available only by prescription (unrefillable) and require a form for ordering. snorted, smoked, injected
Amphetamine Biphetamine, Dexedrine: bennies, black beauties, crosses, hearts, LA turnaround, speed, truck drivers, uppers II ?Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse. They require greater storage security and have a quota on manufacturing, among other restrictions. Schedule II drugs are available only by prescription (unrefillable) and require a form for ordering. swallowed, snorted, smoked, injected
Methamph-etamine Desoxyn: meth, ice, crank, chalk, crystal, fire, glass, go fast, speed II ?Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse. They require greater storage security and have a quota on manufacturing, among other restrictions. Schedule II drugs are available only by prescription (unrefillable) and require a form for ordering. 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
Category & Name Examples of Commercial & Street Names DEA Schedule How Administered*
MDMA (methylene-dioxy-methamph-etamine) Ecstasy, Adam, clarity, Eve, lover's speed, peace, uppers I ?Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse. 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. swallowed, snorted, injected
Flunitrazepam ** Rohypnol: forget-me pill, Mexican Valium, R2, roach, Roche, roofies, roofinol, rope, rophies IV ?Schedule IV drugs are available by prescription, may have five refills in 6 months, and may be ordered orally. swallowed, snorted
GHB ** Gamma-hydroxybutyrate: G, Georgia home boy, grievous bodily harm, liquid ecstasy, soap, scoop, goop, liquid X I ?Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse. 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. swallowed

Acute Effects, for MDMA - Mild hallucinogenic effects; increased tactile sensitivity; empathic feelings; lowered inhibition; anxiety; chills; sweating; teeth clenching; muscle cramping

Also, for Flunitrazepam - Sedation; muscle relaxation; confusion; memory loss; dizziness; impaired coordination

Also, for GHB - Drowsiness; nausea; headache; disorientation; loss of coordination; memory loss

Health Risks, for MDMA - Sleep disturbances; depression; impaired memory; hyperthermia; addiction

Also, for Flunitrazepam - Addiction

Also, for GHB - Unconsciousness; seizures; coma

Dissociative Drugs
Category & Name Examples of Commercial & Street Names DEA Schedule How Administered*
Ketamine Ketalar SV: cat Valium, K, Special K, vitamin K III ?Schedule III drugs are available by prescription, may have five refills in 6 months, and may be ordered orally. injected, snorted, smoked
PCP and analogs Phencyclidine: angel dust, boat, hog, love boat, peace pill I, II ?Schedule I & II drugs have a high potential for abuse. They require greater storage security & have a quota on manufacturing. Schedule I drugs are available for research only & have no approved medical use; Schedule II drugs are only by prescription. swallowed, smoked, injected
Salvia divinorum Salvia, Shepherdess's Herb, Maria Pastora, magic mint, Sally-D Not Scheduled chewed, swallowed, smoked
Dextrometh-orphan (DXM) Found in some cough and cold medications: Robotripping, Robo, Triple C Not 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
Category & Name Examples of Commercial & Street Names DEA Schedule How Administered*
LSD Lysergic acid diethylamide: acid, blotter, cubes, microdot yellow sunshine, blue heaven   I ?Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse. 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. swallowed, absorbed through mouth tissues
Mescaline Buttons, cactus, mesc, peyote I ?Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse. 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. swallowed, smoked
Psilocybin Magic mushrooms, purple passion, shrooms, little smoke I ?Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse. 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. swallowed

Acute Effects - Altered states of perception and feeling; hallucinations; nausea

Also, for LSD - Increased body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure; loss of appetite; sweating; sleeplessness; numbness, dizziness, weakness, tremors; impulsive behavior; rapid shifts in emotion

Also, for 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, for LSD - Flashbacks, Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder

Other Compounds
Category & Name Examples of Commercial & Street Names DEA Schedule How Administered*
Anabolic steroids Anadrol, Oxandrin, Durabolin, Depo-Testosterone, Equipoise: roids, juice, gym candy, pumpers III ?Schedule III drugs are available by prescription, may have five refills in 6 months, and may be ordered orally. Injected, swallowed, applied to skin
Inhalants Solvents (paint thinners, gasoline, glues); gases (butane, propane, aerosol propellants, nitrous oxide); nitrites (isoamyl, isobutyl, cyclohexyl): laughing gas, poppers, snappers, whippets Not scheduled Inhaled through nose or mouth

Acute Effects, for Anabolic steroids - No intoxication effects

Also, for Inhalants (varies by chemical) - Stimulation; loss of inhibition; headache; nausea or vomiting; slurred speech; loss of motor coordination; wheezing

Health Risks, for Anabolic steroids - Hypertension; 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

Also, for Inhalants - Cramps; muscle weakness; depression; memory impairment; damage to cardiovascular and nervous systems; unconsciousness; sudden death

Prescription Medications
Category & Name Examples of Commercial & Street Names DEA Schedule How Administered*
CNS Depressants For more information on prescription medications, please visit the Commonly Abused Prescription Drug Chart
Stimulants
Opioid Pain Relievers

Notes

* 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.

Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment

More than three decades of scientific research show that treatment can help drug-addicted individuals stop drug use, avoid relapse and successfully recover their lives. Based on this research, 13 fundamental principles that characterize effective drug abuse treatment have been developed. These principles are detailed in NIDA's Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide. The guide also describes different types of science-based treatments and provides answers to commonly asked questions.

 

This page was last updated March 2011

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