Commonly Abused Drugs

Commonly Abused Drugs

Substance: Category and NameExamples of Commercial and Street NamesDEA 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, addictionAlso, for barbiturates — sedation, drowsiness / depression, unusual excitement, fever, irritability, poor judgment, slurred speech, dizzinessfor 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

barbituratesAmytal, 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
methaqualoneQuaalude, Sopor, Parest; ludes, mandrex, quad, quayI / injected, swallowed

Dissociative Anesthetics

increased heart rate and blood pressure, impaired motor function / memory loss; numbness; nausea / vomitingAlso, for ketamine — at high doses, delirium, depression, respiratory depression and arrestfor PCP and analogs — possible decrease in blood pressure and heart rate, panic, aggression, violence / loss of appetite, depression
ketamineKetalar SV; cat Valiums, K, Special K, vitamin KIII / injected, snorted, smoked
PCP and analogsphencyclidine; 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, tremorsfor psilocybin — nervousness, paranoia
LSDlysergic 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, addictionAlso, for codeine — less analgesia, sedation, and respiratory depression than morphinefor heroin — staggering gait
codeineEmpirin 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
fentanylActiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze; Apache , China girl, China white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, TNT, Tango and CashII / injected, smoked, snorted
heroindiacetylmorphine; brown sugar, dope, H, horse, junk, skag, skunk, smack, white horseI / injected, smoked, snorted
morphineRoxanol, Duramorph; M, Miss Emma, monkey, white stuffII, III / injected, swallowed, smoked
opiumlaudanum, 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 failureAlso, for amphetamine — rapid breathing; hallucinations / tremor, loss of coordination; irritability, anxiousness, restlessness, delirium, panic, paranoia, impulsive behavior, aggressiveness, tolerance, addictionfor 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

amphetamineAdderall, Biphetamine, Dexedrine; bennies, black beauties, crosses, hearts, LA turnaround, speed, truck drivers, uppersII / injected, swallowed, smoked, snorted
cocaineCocaine hydrochloride; blow, bump, C, candy, Charlie, coke, crack, flake, rock, snow, tootII / injected, smoked, snorted
MDMA ( methylenedioxy-
methamphetamine )
DOB, DOM, MDA; Adam, clarity, ecstasy, Eve, lover’s speed, peace, STP, X, XTCI / swallowed
methamphetamineDesoxyn; chalk, crank, crystal, fire, glass, go fast, ice, meth, speedII / injected, swallowed, smoked, snorted
methylphenidateRitalin; 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 steroidsAnadrol, Oxandrin, Durabolin, Depo – Testosterone, Equipoise; roids, juiceIII / injected, swallowed, applied to skinno 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
inhalantsSolvents ( 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 mouthstimulation, 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