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NIDA

Commonly Abused Drugs Charts

Revised February 2015

The previous Commonly Abused Drugs Chart, Prescription Drugs Chart, and the Health Effects content have all been merged into this section. Scroll down and click to expand each drug section to view.

Most drugs of abuse are addictive. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences and by long-lasting changes in the brain. People who are addicted have strong cravings for the drug, making it difficult to stop using. Most drugs alter a person’s thinking and judgment, which can increase the risk of injury or death from drugged driving or infectious diseases (e.g., HIV/AIDS, hepatitis) from unsafe sexual practices or needle sharing. Drug use during pregnancy can lead to neonatal abstinence syndrome, a condition in which a baby can suffer from dependence and withdrawal symptoms after birth. Pregnancy-related issues are listed in the chart below for drugs where there is enough scientific evidence to connect the drug use to negative effects. However, most drugs could potentially harm an unborn baby.

In the charts, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) schedule indicates the drug’s acceptable medical use and its potential for abuse or dependence. More information can be found on the DEA website. For more comprehensive information about treatment options for drug addiction, see NIDA’s Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition).

Alcohol
 

People drink to socialize, celebrate, and relax. Alcohol often has a strong effect on people – and throughout history, people have struggled to understand and manage alcohol’s power. Why does alcohol cause people to act and feel differently?  How much is too much? Why do some people become addicted while others do not? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is researching the answers to these, and many other questions about alcohol. Here’s what is known:

Alcohol’s effects vary from person to person, depending on a variety of factors, including:

  • How much you drink
  • How often you drink
  • Your age
  • Your health status
  • Your family history

While drinking alcohol is itself not necessarily a problem – drinking too much can cause a range of consequences, and increase your risk for a variety of problems. For more information on alcohol’s effects on the body, please see the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s related web page describing alcohol’s effects on the body.


Ayahuasca
 

A hallucinogenic tea made in the Amazon from a DMT-containing plant (Psychotria viridis or Diplopterys cabrerana or other) along with another vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) that contains an MAO Inhibitor preventing the natural breakdown of DMT in the digestive system, thereby facilitating a prolonged hallucinatory experience. It was used historically in Amazonian religious and healing rituals and is increasingly used by tourists. For more information, see the Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs Research Report

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Aya, Yagé, Hoasca No commercial uses Brewed as tea Swallowed as tea DMT is Schedule I but plants containing it are not controlled
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Strong hallucinations including perceptions of otherworldly imagery, altered visual and auditory perceptions; increased blood pressure, vomiting.
Long-term Unknown.
Other Health-related Issues Unknown.
In Combination with Alcohol Unknown.
Withdrawal Symptoms Unknown.
Treatment options
Medications It is not known whether ayahuasca is addictive. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to ayahuasca or other hallucinogens.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if ayahuasca is addictive and, if so, whether behavioral therapies are effective.

Bath Salts (Synthetic Cathinones)
 

An emerging family of drugs containing one or more synthetic chemicals related to cathinone, a stimulant found naturally in the Khat plant. Examples of such chemicals include mephedrone, methylone, and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). For more information, see the Bath Salts DrugFacts.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Bloom, Cloud Nine, Cosmic Blast, Ivory Wave, Lunar Wave, Scarface, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning No commercial uses for ingested “bath salts” White or brown crystalline powder sold in small plastic or foil packages labeled “not for human consumption” and sometimes sold as jewelry cleaner; tablet, capsule, liquid Swallowed, snorted, injected I
Some formulations have been banned by the DEA
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Increased heart rate and blood pressure; euphoria; increased sociability and sex drive; paranoia, agitation, and hallucinations; psychotic and violent behavior; nosebleeds; sweating; nausea, vomiting; insomnia; irritability; dizziness; depression; suicidal thoughts; panic attacks; reduced motor control; cloudy thinking.
Long-term Breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue; kidney failure; death.
Other Health-related Issues Risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases from shared needles.
In Combination with Alcohol Unknown.
Withdrawal Symptoms Depression, anxiety, problems sleeping, tremors, paranoia.
Treatment options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to bath salts.
Behavioral Therapies
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Contingency management, or motivational incentives
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
  • Behavioral treatments geared to teens

Cocaine
 

A powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. For more information, see the Cocaine Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Blow, Bump, C, Candy, Charlie, Coke, Crack, Flake, Rock, Snow, Toot Cocaine hydrochloride topical solution (anesthetic rarely used in medical procedures) White powder, whitish rock crystal Snorted, smoked, injected II
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Narrowed blood vessels; enlarged pupils; increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; headache; abdominal pain and nausea; euphoria; increased energy, alertness; insomnia, restlessness; anxiety; erratic and violent behavior, panic attacks, paranoia, psychosis; heart rhythm problems, heart attack; stroke, seizure, coma.
Long-term Loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, nasal damage and trouble swallowing from snorting; infection and death of bowel tissue from decreased blood flow; poor nutrition and weight loss from decreased appetite.
Other Health-related Issues Pregnancy: premature delivery, low birth weight, neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases from shared needles.
In Combination with Alcohol Greater risk of overdose and sudden death than from either drug alone.
Withdrawal Symptoms Depression, tiredness, increased appetite, insomnia, vivid unpleasant dreams, slowed thinking and movement, restlessness.
Treatment options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat cocaine addiction.
Behavioral Therapies
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Community reinforcement approach plus vouchers
  • Contingency management, or motivational incentives
  • The matrix model
  • 12-Step facilitation therapy

DMT
 

A synthetic drug producing intense but relatively short-lived hallucinogenic experiences; also naturally occurring in some South American plants (See Ayahuasca). For more information, see the Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
DMT, Dimitri No commercial uses White or yellow crystalline powder Smoked, injected I
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Intense visual hallucinations, depersonalization, auditory distortions, and an altered perception of time and body image, usually resolving in 30-45 minutes or less. Physical effects include hypertension, increased heart rate, agitation, seizures, dilated pupils, involuntary rapid eye movements, dizziness, incoordination.
Long-term Unknown.
Other Health-related Issues At high doses, coma and respiratory arrest have occurred.
In Combination with Alcohol Unknown.
Withdrawal Symptoms Unknown.
Treatment options
Medications It is not known whether DMT is addictive. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to DMT or other hallucinogens.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if DMT is addictive and, if so, whether behavioral therapies are effective.

GHB
 

A depressant approved for use in the treatment of narcolepsy, a disorder that causes daytime “sleep attacks.” For more information, see the Club Drugs DrugFacts.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
G, Georgia Home Boy, Goop, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid X, Soap, Scoop Gamma-hydroxybutyrate or sodium oxybate (Xyrem®) Colorless liquid, white powder Swallowed (often combined with alcohol or other beverages) I
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Euphoria, drowsiness, decreased anxiety, confusion, memory loss, hallucinations, excited and aggressive behavior, nausea, vomiting, unconsciousness, seizures, slowed heart rate and breathing, lower body temperature, coma, death.
Long-term Unknown.
Other Health-related Issues Sometimes used as a date rape drug.
In Combination with Alcohol Nausea, problems with breathing, greatly increased depressant effects.
Withdrawal Symptoms Insomnia, anxiety, tremors, sweating, increased heart rate and blood pressure, psychotic thoughts.
Treatment options
Medications Benzodiazepines.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat GHB addiction.

Hallucinogens
 

Drugs that cause profound distortions in a person’s perceptions of reality, such as ketamine, LSD, mescaline (peyote), PCP, psilocybin, salvia, DMT, and ayahuasca. For more information, see the Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs Research Report.


Heroin
 

An opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. For more information, see the Heroin Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Brown sugar, China White, Dope, H, Horse, Junk, Skag, Skunk, Smack, White Horse
With OTC cold medicine and antihistamine: Cheese
No commercial uses White or brownish powder, or black sticky substance known as “black tar heroin” Injected, smoked, snorted I
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Euphoria; warm flushing of skin; dry mouth; heavy feeling in the hands and feet; clouded thinking; alternate wakeful and drowsy states; itching; nausea; vomiting; slowed breathing and heart rate.
Long-term Collapsed veins; abscesses (swollen tissue with pus); infection of the lining and valves in the heart; constipation and stomach cramps; liver or kidney disease; pneumonia.
Other Health-related Issues Pregnancy: miscarriage, low birth weight, neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases from shared needles.
In Combination with Alcohol Dangerous slowdown of heart rate and breathing, coma, death.
Withdrawal Symptoms Restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps ("cold turkey"), leg movements.
Treatment options
Medications
  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone (short and long-acting forms)
Behavioral Therapies
  • Contingency management, or motivational incentives
  • 12-Step facilitation therapy

Inhalants
 

Solvents, aerosols, and gases found in household products such as spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning fluids; also nitrites (e.g., amyl nitrite), which are prescription medications for chest pain. For more information, see the Inhalants Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Poppers, snappers, whippets, laughing gas Various Paint thinners or removers, degreasers, dry-cleaning fluids, gasoline, lighter fluids, correction fluids, permanent markers, electronics cleaners and freeze sprays, glue, spray paint, hair or deodorant sprays, fabric protector sprays, aerosol computer cleaning products, vegetable oil sprays, butane lighters, propane tanks, whipped cream aerosol containers, refrigerant gases, ether, chloroform, halothane, nitrous oxide Inhaled through the nose or mouth Not scheduled
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Confusion; nausea; slurred speech; lack of coordination; euphoria; dizziness; drowsiness; disinhibition, lightheadedness, hallucinations/delusions; headaches; sudden sniffing death due to heart failure (from butane, propane, and other chemicals in aerosols); death from asphyxiation, suffocation, convulsions or seizures, coma, or choking.

Nitrites: enlarged blood vessels, enhanced sexual pleasure, increased heart rate, brief sensation of heat and excitement, dizziness, headache.
Long-term Liver and kidney damage; bone marrow damage; limb spasms due to nerve damage; brain damage from lack of oxygen that can cause problems with thinking, movement, vision, and hearing.

Nitrites: increased risk of pneumonia.
Other Health-related Issues Pregnancy: low birth weight, bone problems, delayed behavioral development due to brain problems, altered metabolism and body composition.
In Combination with Alcohol Nitrites: dangerously low blood pressure.
Withdrawal Symptoms Nausea, loss of appetite, sweating, tics, problems sleeping, and mood changes.
Treatment options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat inhalant addiction.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat inhalant addiction.

Ketamine
 

A dissociative drug used as an anesthetic in veterinary practice. Dissociative drugs are hallucinogens that cause the user to feel detached from reality. For more information, see the Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs Research Report

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Cat Valium, K, Special K, Vitamin K Ketalar® Liquid, white powder Injected, snorted, smoked (powder added to tobacco or marijuana cigarettes), swallowed III
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Problems with attention, learning, and memory; dreamlike states, hallucinations; sedation; confusion and problems speaking; loss of memory; problems moving, to the point of being immobile; raised blood pressure; unconsciousness; slowed breathing that can lead to death.
Long-term Ulcers and pain in the bladder; kidney problems; stomach pain; depression; poor memory.
Other Health-related Issues Sometimes used as a date rape drug.

Risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases from shared needles.
In Combination with Alcohol Increased risk of adverse effects.
Withdrawal Symptoms Unknown.
Treatment options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to ketamine or other dissociative drugs.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat addiction to dissociative drugs.

LSD
 

A hallucinogen manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. LSD is an abbreviation of the scientific name, lysergic acid diethylamide. For more information, see the Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Acid, Blotter, Blue Heaven, Cubes, Microdot, Yellow Sunshine No commercial uses Tablet; capsule; clear liquid; small, decorated squares of absorbent paper that liquid has been added to Swallowed, absorbed through mouth tissues (paper squares) I
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Rapid emotional swings; distortion of a person’s ability to recognize reality, think rationally, or communicate with others; raised blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature; dizziness and insomnia; loss of appetite; dry mouth; sweating; numbness; weakness; tremors; enlarged pupils.
Long-term Frightening flashbacks (called Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder ([HPPD]); ongoing visual disturbances, disorganized thinking, paranoia, and mood swings.
Other Health-related Issues Unknown.
In Combination with Alcohol May decrease the perceived effects of alcohol.
Withdrawal Symptoms Unknown.
Treatment options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to LSD or other hallucinogens.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat addiction to hallucinogens.

Marijuana (Cannabis)
 

Marijuana is made from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. For more information, see the Marijuana Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Blunt, Bud, Dope, Ganja, Grass, Green, Herb, Joint, Mary Jane, Pot, Reefer, Sinsemilla, Skunk, Smoke, Trees, Weed; Hashish: Boom, Gangster, Hash, Hemp Various brand names in states where the sale of marijuana is legal Greenish-gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and/or flowers; resin (hashish) or sticky, black liquid (hash oil) Smoked, eaten (mixed in food or brewed as tea) I
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Enhanced sensory perception and euphoria followed by drowsiness/relaxation; slowed reaction time; problems with balance and coordination; increased heart rate and appetite; problems with learning and memory; hallucinations; anxiety; panic attacks; psychosis.
Long-term Mental health problems; chronic cough; frequent respiratory infections.
Other Health-related Issues Youth: possible loss of IQ points when repeated use begins in adolescence.

Pregnancy: babies born with problems with attention, memory, and problem solving.
In Combination with Alcohol Increased heart rate, blood pressure; further slowing of mental processing and reaction time.
Withdrawal Symptoms Irritability, trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, anxiety.
Treatment options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat marijuana addiction.
Behavioral Therapies
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Contingency management, or motivational incentives
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
  • Behavioral treatments geared to adolescents

MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly)
 

A synthetic, psychoactive drug that has similarities to both the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. MDMA is an abbreviation of the scientific name, 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. For more information, see the MDMA (Ecstasy) Abuse Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Adam, Clarity, Eve, Lover's Speed, Peace, Uppers No commercial uses Colorful tablets with imprinted logos, capsules, powder, liquid Swallowed, snorted I
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Lowered inhibition; enhanced sensory perception; confusion; depression; sleep problems; anxiety; increased heart rate and blood pressure; muscle tension; teeth clenching; nausea; blurred vision; faintness; chills or sweating; sharp rise in body temperature leading to liver, kidney, or heart failure and death.
Long-term Long-lasting confusion, depression, problems with attention, memory, and sleep; increased anxiety, impulsiveness, aggression; loss of appetite; less interest in sex.
Other Health-related Issues Unknown.
In Combination with Alcohol May increase the risk of cell and organ damage.
Withdrawal Symptoms Fatigue, loss of appetite, depression, trouble concentrating.
Treatment options
Medications There is conflicting evidence about whether MDMA is addictive. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat MDMA addiction.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat MDMA addiction.

Mescaline (Peyote)
 

A hallucinogen found in disk-shaped “buttons” in the crown of several cacti, including peyote. For more information, see the Hallucinogens – LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP DrugFacts.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Buttons, Cactus, Mesc No commercial uses Fresh or dried buttons, capsule Swallowed (chewed or soaked in water and drunk) I
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Enhanced perception and feeling; hallucinations; euphoria; anxiety; increased body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure; sweating; problems with movement.
Long-term Unknown.
Other Health-related Issues Unknown.
In Combination with Alcohol Unknown.
Withdrawal Symptoms Unknown.
  <th colspan="2 class=" twenty"="" scope="col"> Treatment options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to mescaline or other hallucinogens.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat addiction to hallucinogens.

Methamphetamine
 

An extremely addictive stimulant amphetamine drug. For more information, see the Methamphetamine Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Crank, Chalk, Crystal, Fire, Glass, Go Fast, Ice, Meth, Speed Desoxyn® White powder or pill; crystal meth looks like pieces of glass or shiny blue-white “rocks” of different sizes Swallowed, snorted, smoked, injected II
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Increased wakefulness and physical activity; decreased appetite; increased breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, temperature; irregular heart beat.
Long-term Anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood problems, violent behavior; paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, weight loss, severe dental problems (“meth mouth”), intense itching leading to skin sores from scratching.
Other Health-related Issues Pregnancy: premature delivery; separation of the placenta from the uterus; low birth weight; lethargy; heart and brain problems.

Risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases from shared needles.
In Combination with Alcohol Masks the depressant effect of alcohol, increasing risk of alcohol overdose; may increase blood pressure and jitters.
Withdrawal Symptoms Depression, anxiety, tiredness.
Treatment options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat methamphetamine addiction.
Behavioral Therapies
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Contingency management or motivational incentives
  • The matrix model
  • 12-Step facilitation therapy

Over-the-counter Cough/Cold Medicines (Dextromethorphan or DMX)
 

Psychoactive when taken in higher-than-recommended amounts. For more information, see the Cough and Cold Medicine Abuse DrugFacts.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Robotripping, Robo, Triple C Various (many brand names include “DM”) Syrup, capsule Swallowed Not scheduled
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Euphoria; slurred speech; increased heart rate, blood pressure, temperature; numbness; dizziness; nausea; vomiting; confusion; paranoia; altered visual perceptions; problems with movement; buildup of excess acid in body fluids.
Long-term Unknown.
Other Health-related Issues Breathing problems, seizures, and increased heart rate may occur from other ingredients in cough/cold medicines.
In Combination with Alcohol Increased risk of adverse effects.
Withdrawal Symptoms Unknown.
Treatment options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to over-the-counter cough/cold medicines.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat addiction to over-the-counter cough/cold medicines.

PCP
 

A dissociative drug developed as an intravenous anesthetic that has been discontinued due to serious adverse effects. Dissociative drugs are hallucinogens that cause the user to feel detached from reality. PCP is an abbreviation of the scientific name, phencyclidine. For more information, see the Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs Research Report

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Angel Dust, Boat, Hog, Love Boat, Peace Pill No commercial uses White or colored powder, tablet, or capsule; clear liquid Injected, snorted, swallowed, smoked (powder added to mint, parsley, oregano, or marijuana) I, II
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, problems thinking, a sense of distance from one’s environment, anxiety.

Low doses: slight increase in breathing rate; increased blood pressure and heart rate; shallow breathing; face redness and sweating; numbness of the hands or feet; problems with movement.

High doses: lowered blood pressure, pulse rate, breathing rate; nausea; vomiting, blurred vision; flicking up and down of the eyes; drooling; loss of balance; dizziness; violence; suicidal thoughts; seizures, coma, and death.
Long-term Memory loss, problems with speech and thinking, depression, weight loss, anxiety.
Other Health-related Issues PCP has been linked to self-injury.

Risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases from shared needles.
In Combination with Alcohol Increased risk of coma.
Withdrawal Symptoms Headaches, sweating.
Treatment options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to PCP or other dissociative drugs.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat addiction to dissociative drugs.

Prescription Opioids
 

Pain relievers with an origin similar to that of heroin. Opioids can cause euphoria and are often used nonmedically, leading to overdose deaths. For more information, see the Prescription Drug Abuse Research Report

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Captain Cody, Cody, Lean, Schoolboy, Sizzurp, Purple Drank
With glutethimide: Doors & Fours, Loads, Pancakes and Syrup
Codeine (various brand names) Tablet, capsule, liquid Injected, swallowed (often mixed with soda and flavorings) II, III, V
Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, Tango and Cash, TNT Fentanyl (Actiq®, Duragesic®, Sublimaze®) Lozenge, sublingual tablet, film, buccal tablet Injected, smoked, snorted II
Vike, Watson-387 Hydrocodone or dihydrocodeinone (Vicodin®, Lortab®, Lorcet®, and others) Capsule, liquid, tablet Swallowed, snorted, injected II
D, Dillies, Footballs, Juice, Smack Hydromorphone (Dilaudid®) Liquid, suppository Injected, rectal II
Demmies, Pain Killer Meperidine (Demerol®) Tablet, liquid Swallowed, snorted, injected II
Amidone, Fizzies
With MDMA: Chocolate Chip Cookies
Methadone (Dolophine®, Methadose®) Tablet, dispersible tablet, liquid Swallowed, injected II
M, Miss Emma, Monkey, White Stuff Morphine (Duramorph®, Roxanol®) Tablet, liquid, capsule, suppository Injected, swallowed, smoked II, III
O.C., Oxycet, Oxycotton, Oxy, Hillbilly Heroin, Percs Oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, and others) Capsule, liquid, tablet Swallowed, snorted, injected II
Biscuits, Blue Heaven, Blues, Mrs. O, O Bomb, Octagons, Stop Signs Oxymorphone (Opana®) Tablet Swallowed, snorted, injected II
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Pain relief, drowsiness, nausea, constipation, euphoria, confusion, slowed breathing, death.
Long-term Unknown.
Other Health-related Issues Pregnancy: Miscarriage; low birth weight; neonatal abstinence syndrome.

Older Adults: Higher risk of accidental misuse or abuse because many older adults have multiple prescriptions, increasing the risk of drug-drug interactions, and breakdown of drugs slows with age; also, many older adults are treated with prescription medications for pain.

Risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases from shared needles.
In Combination with Alcohol Dangerous slowing of heart rate and breathing leading to coma or death.
Withdrawal Symptoms Restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps ("cold turkey"), leg movements.
Treatment options
Medications
  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone (short- and long-acting)
Behavioral Therapies Behavioral therapies that have helped treat addiction to heroin may be useful in treating prescription opioid addiction.

Prescription Sedatives (tranquilizers, depressants)
 

Medications that slow brain activity, which makes them useful for treating anxiety and sleep problems. For more information, see the Prescription Drug Abuse Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Barbs, Phennies, Red Birds, Reds, Tooies, Yellow Jackets, Yellows Barbiturates: pentobarbital (Nembutal®), phenobarbital (Luminal®) Pill, capsule, liquid Swallowed, injected II, III, IV
Candy, Downers, Sleeping Pills, Tranks Benzodiazepines: alprazolam (Xanax®), chlorodiazepoxide (Limbitrol®), diazepam (Valium®), lorazepam (Ativan®), triazolam (Halicon®) Pill, capsule, liquid Swallowed, injected IV
Forget-me Pill, Mexican Valium, R2, Roche, Roofies, Roofinol, Rope, Rophies Sleep Medications: eszopiclone (Lunesta®), zaleplon (Sonata®), zolpidem (Ambien®) Pill, capsule, liquid Swallowed, injected IV
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Drowsiness, slurred speech, poor concentration, confusion, dizziness, problems with movement and memory, lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing.
Long-term Unknown.
Other Health-related Issues Sleep medications are sometimes used as date rape drugs.

Risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases from shared needles.
In Combination with Alcohol Further slows heart rate and breathing, which can lead to death.
Withdrawal Symptoms Must be discussed with a health care provider; barbiturate withdrawal can cause a serious abstinence syndrome that may even include seizures.
Treatment options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to prescription sedatives; lowering the dose over time must be done with the help of a health care provider.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat addiction to prescription sedatives.

Prescription Stimulants
 

Medications that increase alertness, attention, energy, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate. For more information, see the Prescription Drug Abuse Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Bennies, Black Beauties, Crosses, Hearts, LA Turnaround, Speed, Truck Drivers, Uppers Amphetamine (Adderall®, Benzedrine®) Tablet, capsule Swallowed, snorted, smoked, injected II
JIF, MPH, R-ball, Skippy, The Smart Drug, Vitamin R Methylphenidate (Concerta®, Ritalin®) Liquid, tablet, chewable tablet, capsule Swallowed, snorted, smoked, injected, chewed II
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Increased alertness, attention, energy; increased blood pressure and heart rate; narrowed blood vessels; increased blood sugar; opened up breathing passages.

High doses: dangerously high body temperature and irregular heartbeat; heart failure; seizures.
Long-term Heart problems, psychosis, anger, paranoia.
Other Health-related Issues Risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases from shared needles.
In Combination with Alcohol Masks the depressant action of alcohol, increasing risk of alcohol overdose; may increase blood pressure and jitters.
Withdrawal Symptoms Depression, tiredness, sleep problems.
Treatment options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat stimulant addiction.
Behavioral Therapies Behavioral therapies that have helped treat addiction to cocaine or methamphetamine may be useful in treating prescription stimulant addiction.

Psilocybin
 

A hallucinogen in certain types of mushrooms that grow in parts of South America, Mexico, and the United States. For more information, see the Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Little Smoke, Magic Mushrooms, Purple Passion, Shrooms No commercial uses Fresh or dried mushrooms with long, slender stems topped by caps with dark gills Swallowed (eaten, brewed as tea, or added to other foods) I
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Hallucinations, altered perception of time, inability to tell fantasy from reality, panic, muscle relaxation or weakness, problems with movement, enlarged pupils, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness.
Long-term Risk of flashbacks and memory problems.
Other Health-related Issues Risk of poisoning if a poisonous mushroom is accidentally used.
In Combination with Alcohol May decrease the perceived effects of alcohol.
Withdrawal Symptoms Unknown.
Treatment options
Medications It is not known whether psilocybin is addictive. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to psilocybin or other hallucinogens.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if psilocybin is addictive and whether behavioral therapies can be used to treat addiction to this or other hallucinogens.

Salvia
 

A dissociative drug that is an herb in the mint family native to southern Mexico, Salvia divinorum. Dissociative drugs are hallucinogens that cause the user to feel detached from reality. For more information, see the Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Magic mint, Maria Pastora, Sally-D, Shepherdess’s Herb, Diviner’s Sage Sold legally in most states as Salvia divinorum. Fresh or dried leaves Smoked, chewed, or brewed as tea Not Scheduled
(but labeled drug of concern by DEA and illegal in some states)
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Short-lived but intense hallucinations; altered visual perception, mood, body sensations; mood swings, feelings of detachment from one’s body; sweating.
Long-term Unknown.
Other Health-related Issues Unknown.
In Combination with Alcohol Unknown.
Withdrawal Symptoms Unknown.
Treatment options
Medications It is not known whether salvia is addictive. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to salvia or other dissociative drugs.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if salvia is addictive, but behavioral therapies can be used to treat addiction to dissociative drugs.

Steroids (Anabolic)
 

Man-made substances used to treat conditions caused by low levels of steroid hormones in the body and abused to enhance athletic and sexual performance and physical appearance. For more information, see the Anabolic Steroid Abuse Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
Juice, Gym Candy, Pumpers, Roids Nandrolone (Oxandrin®), oxandrolone (Anadrol®), oxymetholone (Winstrol®), stanozolol (Durabolin®), testosterone cypionate (Depo-testosterone®) Tablet, capsule, liquid drops, gel, cream, patch, injectable solution Injected, swallowed, applied to skin III
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Headache, acne, fluid retention (especially in the hands and feet), oily skin, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, infection at the injection site.
Long-term Kidney damage or failure; liver damage; high blood pressure, enlarged heart, or changes in cholesterol leading to increased risk of stroke or heart attack, even in young people; aggression; extreme mood swings; anger (“roid rage”); paranoid jealousy; extreme irritability; delusions; impaired judgment.
Other Health-related Issues Males: shrunken testicles, lowered sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts, increased risk for prostate cancer. 

Females: Facial hair, male-pattern baldness, menstrual cycle changes, enlargement of the clitoris, deepened voice.

Adolescents: Stunted growth.

Risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases from shared needles.
In Combination with Alcohol Increased risk of violent behavior.
Withdrawal Symptoms Mood swings; tiredness; restlessness; loss of appetite; insomnia; lowered sex drive; depression, sometimes leading to suicide attempts.
Treatment options
Medications Hormone therapy
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat steroid addiction.

Synthetic Cannabinoids (“K2”/”Spice”)
 

A wide variety of herbal mixtures containing man-made cannabinoid chemicals related to THC in marijuana but often much stronger and more dangerous. Sometimes misleadingly called “synthetic marijuana” and marketed as a “natural,” "safe," legal alternative to marijuana. For more information, see the Spice (“Synthetic Marijuana”) DrugFacts.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Bliss, Bombay Blue, Fake Weed, Fire, Genie, Moon Rocks, Skunk, Smacked, Yucatan, Zohai No commercial uses Dried, shredded plant material that looks like potpourri and is sometimes sold as “incense” Smoked, swallowed (brewed as tea) I
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Increased heart rate; vomiting; agitation; confusion; hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia; increased blood pressure and reduced blood supply to the heart; heart attack.
Long-term Unknown.
Other Health-related Issues Use of synthetic cannabinoids has led to an increase in emergency room visits in certain areas.
In Combination with Alcohol Unknown.
Withdrawal Symptoms Headaches, anxiety, depression, irritability.
Treatment options
Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat K2/spice addiction.
Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat synthetic cannabinoid addiction.

Tobacco
 

Plant grown for its leaves, which are dried and fermented before use. For more information, see the Tobacco/Nicotine Research Report.

Street Names Commercial Names Common Forms Common Ways Taken DEA Schedule
None Multiple brand names Cigarettes, cigars, bidis, hookahs, smokeless tobacco (snuff, spit tobacco, chew) Smoked, snorted, chewed, vaporized Not Scheduled
Possible Health Effects
Short-term Increased blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate.
Long-term Greatly increased risk of cancer, especially lung cancer when smoked and oral cancers when chewed; chronic bronchitis; emphysema; heart disease; leukemia; cataracts; pneumonia.
Other Health-related Issues Pregnancy: miscarriage, low birth weight, premature delivery, stillbirth, learning and behavior problems.
In Combination with Alcohol Unknown.
Withdrawal Symptoms Irritability, attention and sleep problems, increased appetite.
Treatment options
Medications
  • Bupropion (Zyban®)
  • Varenicline (Chantix®)
  • Nicotine replacement (gum, patch, lozenge)
Behavioral Therapies
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Self-help materials
  • Mail, phone, and Internet quit resources

 

This page was last updated February 2015