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Commonly Abused Drugs

Category and Name
Examples of Commercial
and Street Names
DEA Schedule*/
How Administered**
Intoxication Effects/Potential Health Consequences
Nicotine Found in cigarettes, cigars, bidis, and smokeless tobacco (snuff, spit tobacco, chew) Not scheduled/smoked, snorted, chewed Increased blood pressure, and heart rate/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 (ethyl alcohol) Found in liquor, beer, and wine Not scheduled/swallowed 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/increased risk of injuries, violence, fetal damage (in pregnant women); depression; neurologic deficits; hypertension; liver and heart disease; addiction; fatal overdose
Hashish Boom, gangster, hash, hash oil, hemp I/swallowed, smoked Euphoria; relaxation; slowed reaction time; distorted sensory perception; impaired balance and coordination; increased heart rate and appetite; impaired learning, memory; anxiety; panic attacks; psychosis/cough, frequent respiratory infections; possible mental health decline; addiction
Marijuana Blunt, dope, ganja, grass, herb, joint, bud, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, green, trees, smoke, sinsemilla, skunk, weed I/swallowed, smoked
Heroin Diacetylmorphine: smack, horse, brown sugar, dope, H, junk, skag, skunk, white horse, China white; cheese (with OTC cold medicine and antihistamine) I/injected, smoked, snorted Euphoria; drowsiness; impaired coordination; dizziness; confusion; nausea; sedation; feeling of heaviness in the body; slowed or arrested breathing/constipation; endocarditis; hepatitis; HIV; addiction; fatal overdose
Opium Laudanum, paregoric: big O, black stuff, block, gum, hop II, III, V/swallowed, smoked
Cocaine Cocaine hydrochloride: blow, bump, C, candy, Charlie, coke, crack, flake, rock, snow, toot II/snorted, smoked, injected 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/weight loss, insomnia; cardiac or cardiovascular complications; stroke; seizures; addictionnasal damage from snorting;
severe dental problems
Amphetamine Biphetamine, Dexedrine: bennies, black beauties, crosses, hearts, LA turnaround, speed, truck drivers, uppers II/swallowed, snorted, smoked, injected
Methamphetamine Desoxyn: meth, ice, crank, chalk, crystal, fire, glass, go fast, speed II/ swallowed, snorted, smoked, injected
Club Drugs
Ecstasy, Adam, clarity, Eve, lover's speed, peace, uppers I/swallowed, snorted, injected MDMA—mild hallucinogenic effects; increased tactile sensitivity; empathic feelings; lowered inhibition; anxiety; chills; sweating; teeth clenching; muscle cramping/sleep disturbances; depression; impaired memory; hyperthermia; addictionFlunitrazepam—sedation; muscle relaxation; confusion; memory loss; dizziness; impaired coordination/addiction

GHB—drowsiness; nausea; headache; disorientation; loss of coordination; memory loss/unconsciousness; seizures; coma

Flunitrazepam*** Rohypnol: 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 X
Dissociative Drugs
Ketamine Ketalar SV: cat Valium, K, Special K, vitamin K III/injected, snorted, smoked Ketamine - Feelings of being separate from one’s body and environment; impaired motor function/anxiety; tremors; numbness; memory loss; nausea; analgesia; impaired memory; delirium; respiratory depression and arrest; deathPCP - analgesia; psychosis; aggression; violence; slurred speech; loss of coordination; hallucinationsDXM—euphoria; slurred speech; confusion; dizziness; distorted visual perceptions
PCP and analogs Phencyclidine: angel dust, boat, hog, love boat, peace pill I, II/swallowed, smoked, injected
Salvia divinorum Salvia, Shepherdess’s Herb, Maria Pastora, magic mint, Sally-D Not scheduled/chewed, swallowed, smoked
Dextromethorphan (DXM) Found in some cough and cold medications: Robotripping, Robo, Triple C Not scheduled/swallowed
LSD Lysergic acid diethylamide: acid, blotter, cubes, microdot yellow sunshine, blue heaven I/swallowed, absorbed through mouth tissues Altered states of perception and feeling; hallucinations; nauseaLSD and mescaline–increased body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure; loss of appetite; sweating; sleeplessness; numbness, dizziness, weakness, tremors; impulsive behavior; rapid shifts in emotion

LSD–Flashbacks, Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder

psilocybin–nervousness; paranoia; panic

Mescaline Buttons, cactus, mesc, peyote I/swallowed, smoked
Psilocybin Magic mushrooms, purple passion, shrooms, little smoke I/swallowed
Other Compounds
Anabolic steroids Anadrol, Oxandrin, Durabolin, Depo-
Testosterone, Equipoise: roids, juice, gym candy, pumpers
III/injected, swallowed, applied to skin Steroids--no intoxication effects/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 characteristicsInhalants (varies by chemical)—stimulation; loss of inhibition; headache; nausea or vomiting; slurred speech; loss of motor coordination; wheezing/cramps; muscle weakness; depression; memory impairment; damage to cardiovascular and nervous systems; unconsciousness; sudden death
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
Prescription Medications
CNS Depressants For more information on prescription medications, please visit
Opioid Pain Relievers

* Schedule I and II 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; 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: The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Revised: October 2010

Reviewed by on February 1, 2014