What are some Commonly Abused Drugs?

Category and Name
Examples of Commercial
and Street Names
DEA Schedule*/
How Administered**
Intoxication Effects /Potential Health Consequences


euphoria, slowed thinking and reaction time, confusion, impaired balance and coordination /cough, frequent respiratory infections; impaired memory and learning; increased heart rate, anxiety; panic attacks; tolerance, addiction
hashishboom, chronic, gangster, hash, hash oil, hempI/swallowed, smoked
marijuanablunt, dope, ganja, grass, herb, joints, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, sinsemilla, skunk, weedI/swallowed, smoked


reduced pain and anxiety; feeling of well-being; lowered inhibitions; slowed pulse and breathing; lowered blood pressure; poor concentration /confusion, fatigue; impaired coordination, memory, judgment; respiratory depression and arrest, addiction

Also, for barbiturates—sedation, drowsiness /depression, unusual excitement, fever, irritability, poor judgment, slurred speech, dizziness

for benzodiazepines—sedation, drowsiness/dizziness

for flunitrazepam—visual and gastrointestinal disturbances, urinary retention, memory loss for the time under the drug’s effects

for GHB—drowsiness, nausea/vomiting, headache, loss of consciousness, loss of reflexes, seizures, coma, death

for methaqualone—euphoria/depression, poor reflexes, slurred speech, coma

barbiturates Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, Phenobarbital; barbs, reds, red birds, phennies, tooies, yellows, yellow jacketsII, III, V/injected, swallowed
benzodiazepines (other than flunitrazepam) Ativan, Halcion, Librium, Valium, Xanax; candy, downers, sleeping pills, tranksIV/swallowed
flunitrazepam*** Rohypnol; forget-me pill, Mexican Valium, R2, Roche, roofies, roofinol, rope, rophiesIV/swallowed, snorted
GHB*** gamma-hydroxybutyrate; G, Georgia home boy, grievous bodily harm, liquid ecstasyunder consideration/swallowed
methaqualone Quaalude, Sopor, Parest; ludes, mandrex, quad, quayI/injected, swallowed

Dissociative Anesthetics

increased heart rate and blood pressure, impaired motor function /memory loss; numbness; nausea/vomiting

Also, for ketamine—at high doses, delirium, depression, respiratory depression and arrest

for PCP and analogs—possible decrease in blood pressure and heart rate, panic, aggression, violence /loss of appetite, depression

ketamine Ketalar SV; cat Valiums, K, Special K, vitamin KIII/injected, snorted, smoked
PCP and analogs phencyclidine; angel dust, boat, hog, love boat, peace pillI, II/injected, swallowed, smoked


altered states of perception and feeling; nausea /chronic mental disorders, persisting perception disorder (flashbacks)

Also, for LSD and mescaline—increased body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure; loss of appetite, sleeplessness, numbness, weakness, tremors

for psilocybin—nervousness, paranoia

LSD lysergic acid diethylamide; acid, blotter, boomers, cubes, microdot, yellow sunshinesI/swallowed, absorbed through mouth tissues
mescalinebuttons, cactus, mesc, peyoteI/swallowed, smoked
psilocybinmagic mushroom, purple passion, shroomsI/swallowed

Opioids and Morphine Derivatives

pain relief, euphoria, drowsiness /respiratory depression and arrest, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, unconsciousness, coma, tolerance, addiction

Also, for codeine—less analgesia, sedation, and respiratory depression than morphine

for heroin—staggering gait

codeine Empirin with Codeine, Fiorinal with Codeine, Robitussin A-C, Tylenol with Codeine; Captain Cody, Cody, schoolboy; (with glutethimide) doors & fours, loads, pancakes and syrupII, III, IV/injected, swallowed
fentanyl Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze; Apache , China girl, China white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, TNT, Tango and CashII/injected, smoked, snorted
heroin diacetylmorphine; brown sugar, dope, H, horse, junk, skag, skunk, smack, white horseI/injected, smoked, snorted
morphine Roxanol, Duramorph; M, Miss Emma, monkey, white stuffII, III/injected, swallowed, smoked
opium laudanum, paregoric; big O, black stuff, block, gum, hopII, III, V/swallowed, smoked


increased heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism; feelings of exhilaration, energy, increased mental alertness /rapid or irregular heart beat; reduced appetite, weight loss, heart failure

Also, for amphetamine—rapid breathing; hallucinations / tremor, loss of coordination; irritability, anxiousness, restlessness, delirium, panic, paranoia, impulsive behavior, aggressiveness, tolerance, addiction

for cocaine—increased temperature/chest pain, respiratory failure, nausea, abdominal pain, strokes, seizures, headaches, malnutrition

for MDMA—mild hallucinogenic effects, increased tactile sensitivity, empathic feelings, hyperthermia/impaired memory and learning

for methamphetamine—aggression, violence, psychotic behavior/memory loss, cardiac and neurological damage; impaired memory and learning, tolerance, addiction

for methylphenidate—increase or decrease in blood pressure, psychotic episodes/digestive problems, loss of appetite, weight loss

for nicotine—tolerance, addiction;additional effects attributable to tobacco exposure – adverse pregnancy outcomes, chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer

amphetamine Adderall, Biphetamine, Dexedrine; bennies, black beauties, crosses, hearts, LA turnaround, speed, truck drivers, uppersII/injected, swallowed, smoked, snorted
cocaine Cocaine hydrochloride; blow, bump, C, candy, Charlie, coke, crack, flake, rock, snow, tootII/injected, smoked, snorted
MDMA (methylenedioxy-
DOB, DOM, MDA; Adam, clarity, ecstasy, Eve, lover’s speed, peace, STP, X, XTCI/swallowed
methamphetamine Desoxyn; chalk, crank, crystal, fire, glass, go fast, ice, meth, speedII/injected, swallowed, smoked, snorted
methylphenidate Ritalin; JIF, MPH, R-ball, Skippy, the smart drug, vitamin RII/injected, swallowed, snorted
nicotinebidis, chew, cigars, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, spit tobacconot scheduled/smoked, snorted, taken in snuff and spit tobacco

Other Compounds

anabolic steroids Anadrol, Oxandrin, Durabolin, Depo-Testosterone, Equipoise; roids, juiceIII/injected, swallowed, applied to skin no intoxication effects /hypertension, blood clotting and cholesterol changes, liver cysts and cancer, kidney cancer, hostility and aggression, acne; 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
inhalants Solvents (paint thinners, gasoline, glues), gases (butane, propane, aerosol propellants, nitrous oxide), nitrites (isoamyl, isobutyl, cyclohexyl); laughing gas, poppers, snappers, whippetsnot scheduled/inhaled through nose or mouth stimulation, loss of inhibition; headache; nausea or vomiting; slurred speech, loss of motor coordination; wheezing /unconsciousness, cramps, weight loss, muscle weakness, depression, memory impairment, damage to cardiovascular and nervous systems, sudden death

* 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. Most Schedule V drugs are available over the counter.

** Taking drugs by injection can increase the risk of infection through needle contamination with staphylococci, HIV, hepatitis, and other organisms.

*** Associated with sexual assaults.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse
Updated: July 2001
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