Commonly Abused Drugs

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Category and Name

Examples of Commercial

 and Street Names

DEA Schedule*

How administered**

Intoxication Effects

Potential Health Consequences

What to Look For


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

Rolling papers, pipes, dried plant materials, odor of burnt hemp rope, roach clips
hashish boom, chronic, gangster, hash, hash oil, hemp I swallowed, smoked
marijuana blunt, dope, ganja, grass, herb, joints, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, sinsemilla, skunk, weed I swallowed, smoked

reduced anxiety; feeling of well-being; lowered inhibitions; slowed pulse and breathing; lowered blood pressure; poor concentration

fatigue; confusion; impaired coordination, memory, judgment; addiction; respiratory depression and arrest, death

Capsules and pills, confused behavior, longer periods of sleep, slurred speech

Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, Phenobarbital

barbs, red, red bird, phennies, tooies, yellows, yellow jackets

II, III, V injected, swallowed

sedation, drowsiness

depression, unusual excitement, fever, irritability, poor judgment, slurred speech, dizziness, life-threatening withdrawal.

benodiazepines (other than flunitrazepmam)

Ativan, Halcion, Librium, Valium, Xanax

candy, downers, sleeping pills, tranks

IV swallowed

sedation, drowsiness




forget-me pill, Mexican Valium, R2, Roche, roofies, foofinol, rope, rophies

IV swallowed, snorted visual and gastrointestinal disturbances, urinary retention, memory loss for the time under the drug’s effects  


G, Georgia home boy, grievous bodily harm, liquid ecstasy

None swallowed drowsiness, nausea/vomiting, headache, loss of consciousness, loss of reflexes, seizures, coma, death  

Quaalude, Sopor, Parest

ludes, mandrex, quad, quay

I injected, swallowed


depression, poor reflexes, slurred speech, coma

Dissociative Anesthetics

increased heart rate and blood pressure, impaired motor function

memory loss; numbness; nausea/vomiting

Capsules and pills, confused behavior, longer periods of sleep, slurred speech

Ketalar SV

cat Valiums, K, Special K, vitamin K

III injected, snorted, smoked at high doses, delirium, depression, respiratory depression and arrest  
PCP and analogs


angel dust, boat, hog, love boat, peace pill

I, II injected, swallowed, smoked

possible decrease in blood pressure and heart rate, panic, aggression, violence

loss of appetite, depression


altered states of perception and feeling; nausea

chronic mental disorders, persisting perception disorder (flashbacks)

Capsules, tablets, “microdots,” blotter squares

lysergic acid diethylamide

acid, blotter, boomers, cubes, mirodot, yellow sunshines

I swallowed, absorbed through mouth tissues

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

mescaline buttons, cactus, mesc, peyote I swallowed, smoked
psilocybin magic mushroom, purple passion, shrooms I swallowed nervousness, paranoia  
Opioids and Morphine Derivatives

pain relief, euphoria, drowsiness

nausea, constipation, confusion, sedation, respiratory depression and arrest, tolerance, addiction, unconsciousness, coma, death

Needle marks on arms, needles, syringes, spoons, pipes, pinpoint pupils, cold moist skin

Empirin with Codeine, Fiorinal with Codeine, Robitussin A-C, Tylenol with Codeine

Captain Cody, Cody, schoolboy; (with glutethimide) doors and flours, loads, pancakes and syrup

II, III, IV injected, swallowed less analgesia, sedation, and respiratory depression than morphine  

Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze

Apache, China girl, China white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, TNT, Tango and Cash

II injected, smoked, snorted    


brown sugar, dope, H, horse, junk, skag, skunk, smack, white horse

I injected, smoked, snorted staggering gait  

Roxanol, Duramorph

M, Miss emma, monkey, white stuff

II, III injected, swallowed, smoked    

laudanum, paregoric

big O, black stuff, block, gum, hop

II, 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, nervousness, insomnia

Pills and capsules, loss of sleep and appetite, irritability or anxiety, weight loss, hyperactivity

Biphetamine, Dexedrine

bennies, black beauties, crosses, hearts, LA turnaround, speed, truck drivers, uppers

II injected, swallowed, smoked, snorted

rapid breathing; hallucinations

tremor, loss of coordination; irritability, anxiousness, restlessness, delirium, panic, paranoia, impulsive behavior, aggressiveness, tolerance, addiction, psychosis


Cocaine hydrochloride

blow, pump, C, candy, Charlie, coke, crack, flake, rock, snow, toot

II injected, smoked, snorted

increased temperature

chest pain, respiratory failure, nausea, abdominal pain, strokes, seizures, headaches, malnutrition, panic attacks


MDMA (methyl-




Adam, clarity, ecstasy, Eve, lover’s speed, peace, STP, X, XTC

I swallowed

mild hallucinogenic effects, increased tactile sensitivity, empathic feelings, hypothermia

impaired memory and learning, cardiac toxicity, renal failure, liver toxicity



chalk, crank, crystal, fire, glass, go fast, ice, meth, speed

II injected, swallowed, smoked, snorted

aggression, violence, psychotic behavior

memory loss, cardiac and neurological damage; impaired memory and learning, tolerance, addiction



JIF, MPH, R-ball, Skippy, the smart drug, vitamin R

II injected, swallowed, snorted

increase or decrease in blood pressure, psychotic episodes

digestive problems, loss of appetite weight loss

nicotine bidis, chew, cigars, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, snuff, spit tobacco none smoked, snorted, taken in snuff and spit tobacco additional effects attributable to tobacco exposure, adverse pregnancy outcomes, chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, tolerance, addiction  
Other Compounds
anabolic steroids

Anadrol, Oxandrin, Durabolin, Depo-Testosterone, Equipoise

roids, juice

III injected, swallowed, applied to skin

no intoxication effects

hypertension, blood clotting and cholesterol changes, liver cysts and cancer, kidney cancer, 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 characteristics

Inhalants Solvents (paint thinners, gasoline, glues), gases (butane, propane, aerosol propellants, nitrous oxide), nitrites (isoamyl, isobutyl, cyclohexyl); laughing gas, poppers, snappers, whippets none 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

Odor of substance on clothing and breath, intoxication, drowsiness, poor muscular control, flushed skin.
Alcohol Beer, wine, liquor None swallowed

Intoxication, slurred speech, unsteady walk, relaxation, relaxed inhibitions, impaired coordination, slowed reflexes

Addiction, accident due to impaired ability & judgment, overdose when mixed with other depressants, heart and liver damage

Smell of alcohol on clothes or breath, intoxicated behavior, hangover, glazed eyes.

*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.





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