Prevalent Drugs

Marijuana PlantMarijuana

Brief Description: Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. It is made up of dried parts of the Cannabis sativa hemp plant.
Street Names: Pot, ganga, weed, grass, 420
More at Street Terms (Office of National Drug Control Policy Website) Effects: Short-term effects of marijuana use include euphoria, distorted perceptions, memory impairment, and difficulty thinking and solving problems. Some long-term effects are frequent acute chest illnesses, heightened risks of lung infections, and irregular growth of epithelial cells in lung tissue which can then lead to cancer. 

Club Drugs

image of various club drugs Brief Description: Club drugs tend to be used by teenagers and young adults at bars, nightclubs, concerts, and parties. Club drugs include GHB, Rohypnol®, ketamine, and others. [ MDMA (Ecstasy), Methamphetamine, and  LSD (Acid), are considered club drugs and are covered in their individual drug summaries.
Street Names: special K, vitamin K, jet (ketamine); G, liquid ecstasy, soap (GHB); roofies (Rohypnol®)
More at Street Terms (Office of National Drug Control Policy Website) Effects: Club drugs have varying effects. Ketamine distorts perception and produces feelings of detachment from the environment and self, while GHB and rohypnol are sedating. GHB abuse can cause coma and seizures. High doses of ketamine can cause delirium and amnesia. Rohypnol® can incapacitate users and cause amnesia, and especially when mixed with alcohol, can be lethal.

Prescription Medications

image of prescription drugs Brief Description: Prescription drug abuse means taking a prescription medication that is not prescribed for you, or taking it for reasons or in dosages other than as prescribed. Abuse of prescription drugs can produce serious health effects, including addiction. Commonly abused classes of prescription medications include opioids (for pain), central nervous system depressants (for anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (for ADHD and narcolepsy). Opioids include hydrocodone (Vicodin®), oxycodone (OxyContin®), propoxyphene (Darvon®), hydromorphone (Dilaudid®), meperidine (Demerol®), and diphenoxylate (Lomotil®). Central nervous system depressants include barbiturates such as pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal®), and benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium®) and alprazolam (Xanax®). Stimulants include dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®), methylphenidate (Ritalin® and Concerta®), and amphetamines (Adderall®).
image of prescription drugs Street Names: oxy, cotton, blue, 40, 80 (OxyContin®)
More at Street Terms (Office of National Drug Control Policy Website)
Effects: Long-term use of opioids or central nervous system depressants can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Opioids can produce drowsiness, constipation and, depending on amount taken, can depress breathing. Central nervous system depressants slow down brain function; if combined with other medications that cause drowsiness or with alcohol, heart rate and respiration can slow down dangerously. Taken repeatedly or in high doses, stimulants can cause anxiety, paranoia, dangerously high body temperatures, irregular heartbeat, or seizures.

Bath Salts

bath saltsBrief Description: Bath salts are the the informal street name for a family of designer drugs often containing substituted cathinones. Bath salts often contain MDPV, or methylenedioxypyrovalerone.The white crystals resemble legal bathing products like epsom salts, and are called bath salts with the packaging often stating "not for human consumption" in an attempt to avoid the prohibition of drugs, but chemically have nothing to do with actual bath salts.

Street Names: "Ivory Wave," "Purple Wave," Vanilla Sky," and "Bliss"

Effects: Effects are similar to amphetamine and cocaineUsers of bath salts have reported experiencing symptoms including headache, heart palpitations, nausea, and cold fingers. Paranoia, hallucinations, chest pain, panic attacks have also been reported, and news media have reported associations with violent behavior, heart attack, kidney failure, liver failure, suicide, and an increased tolerance for pain. Visual symptoms similar to those of stimulant overdoses include dilated pupils, involuntary muscle movement, rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure. Many documented users have also had a history of mental illness. 

Cocaine

image of cocaine Brief Description: Cocaine is a powerfully addictive central nervous system stimulant that is snorted, injected, or smoked. Crack is cocaine hydrochloride powder that has been processed to form a rock crystal that is then usually smoked.
Street Names: Coke, snow, flake, blow
More at Street Terms (Office of National Drug Control Policy Website)
Effects: Cocaine usually makes the user feel euphoric and energetic, but also increases body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. Users risk heart attacks, respiratory failure, strokes, seizures, abdominal pain, and nausea. In rare cases, sudden death can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly afterwards.

Methamphetamine

image of methamphetamine Brief Description: Methamphetamine is a very addictive stimulant that is closely related to amphetamine. It is long lasting and toxic to dopamine nerve terminals in the central nervous system. It is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting powder taken orally or by snorting or injecting, or a rock "crystal" that is heated and smoked.
Street Names: Speed, meth, chalk, ice, crystal, glass
More at Street Terms (Office of National Drug Control Policy Website)
Effects: Methamphetamine increases wakefulness and physical activity, produces rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure and body temperature. Long-term use can lead to mood disturbances, violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and severe dental problems. All users, but particularly those who inject the drug, risk infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.