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Information on commonly used drugs with the potential for misuse or addiction can be found here. For drug use trends, see our Trends and Statistics .
Alcohol People drink to socialize, Drug and effects, and relax. Why does alcohol cause people to act and feel differently? How much is too much? Why do some people become addicted while others do not? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is researching the answers to these and many other questions about alcohol. While drinking alcohol is itself not necessarily a problem— drinking too much can cause a range of consequences, and increase your risk for a variety of problems.
NIAAA also has some information about mixing alcohol with certain medicines. Ayahuasca A tea made in the Amazon from a plant Psychotria viridis containing the hallucinogen DMT, along with another vine Banisteriopsis caapi that contains an MAO inhibitor preventing the natural breakdown of DMT in the digestive system, which enhances serotonergic activity. It was used historically in Amazonian religious and healing rituals. Central Nervous System Depressants. Medications that slow brain activity, which makes them useful for treating anxiety and sleep problems.
Cocaine A powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. For more information, see the Cocaine Research Report. DMT Dimethyltriptamine DMT is a synthetic drug that produces intense but relatively short-lived hallucinogenic experiences; it is also found naturally in some South American plants see Ayahuasca. GHB Gamma-hydroxybutyrate GHB is a depressant approved for use in the treatment of narcolepsy, a disorder that causes daytime "sleep attacks".
Heroin An opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance extracted from the seed pod of various opium poppy plants. For more information, see the Heroin Research Report. Inhalants Solvents, aerosols, and gases found in household products such as spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning fluids; also prescription nitrites. For more information, see the Inhalants Research Report. Ketamine A dissociative drug used as an anesthetic in veterinary practice. Dissociative drugs are hallucinogens that cause the user to feel detached from reality.
Long-term Ulcers and pain in the bladder; kidney problems; stomach pain; depression; poor memory. Other Health-related Issues Sometimes used as a date rape drug. Risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases from shared needles. In Combination with Alcohol Increased risk of adverse effects. Withdrawal Symptoms Unknown. Treatment Options Medications There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to ketamine or other dissociative drugs. Behavioral Therapies More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat addiction to dissociative drugs.
Khat Pronounced "cot," a shrub Catha edulis found in East Africa and southern Arabia; contains the psychoactive chemicals cathinone and cathine. People from African and Arabian regions up to an estimated 20 Drug and effects worldwide have used khat for centuries as part of cultural tradition and for its stimulant-like effects.
Kratom A tropical deciduous tree Mitragyna speciosa native to Southeast Asia, with leaves that contain many compounds, including mitragynine, a psychotropic mind-altering opioid. Kratom is consumed for mood-lifting effects and pain relief and as an aphrodisiac. For more information, see the Kratom DrugFacts. LSD A hallucinogen manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains.
LSD is an abbreviation of the scientific name l ysergic acid diethylamide. Marijuana Cannabis Marijuana is made from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The main psychoactive mind-altering chemical in marijuana is deltatetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. For more information, see the Marijuana Research Report. MDMA is an abbreviation of the scientific name 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. For more information, see the Hallucinogens DrugFacts.
Methamphetamine An extremely addictive stimulant amphetamine drug. For more information, see the Methamphetamine Research Report. Over-the-Counter Medicines--Loperamide An anti-diarrheal that can cause euphoria when taken in higher-than-recommended doses.
PCP A dissociative drug developed as an intravenous anesthetic that has been discontinued due to serious adverse effects. PCP is an abbreviation of the scientific name, phencyclidine. Low doses: slight increase in breathing rate; increased blood pressure and heart rate; shallow breathing; face redness and sweating; numbness of the hands or feet; problems with movement.
High doses: nausea; vomiting; flicking up and down of the eyes; drooling; loss of balance; dizziness; violence; seizures, coma, and death. Long-term Memory loss, problems with speech and thinking, loss of appetite, anxiety.
In Combination with Alcohol Unknown. Withdrawal Symptoms Headaches, increased appetite, sleepiness, depression. Prescription Opioids Pain relievers with an origin similar to that of heroin.
Opioids can cause euphoria and are often used nonmedically, leading to overdose deaths. Long-term Increased risk of overdose or addiction if misused. Other Health-related Issues Pregnancy: Miscarriage, low birth weight, neonatal abstinence syndrome. Older adults: higher risk of accidental misuse because many older adults have multiple prescriptions, increasing the risk of drug-drug interactions, and breakdown of drugs slows with age; also, many older adults are treated with prescription medications for pain.
Prescription Stimulants Drug and effects that increase alertness, attention, energy, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate. Psilocybin A hallucinogen in certain types of mushrooms that grow in parts of South America, Mexico, and the United States. Rohypnol has been used to commit sexual assaults because of its strong sedation effects. Salvia A dissociative drug Salvia divinorum that is an herb in the mint family native to southern Mexico.
Steroids Anabolic Man-made substances used to treat conditions caused by low levels of steroid hormones in the body and misused to enhance athletic and sexual performance and physical appearance. Synthetic Cannabinoids A wide variety of herbal mixtures containing man-made cannabinoid chemicals related to THC in marijuana but often much stronger and more dangerous.
For more information, see the Synthetic Cannabinoids DrugFacts. Synthetic Cathinones Bath Salts An emerging family of drugs containing one or more synthetic chemicals related to cathinone, a stimulant found naturally in the khat plant. Examples of such chemicals include mephedrone, methylone, and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone MDPV. For more information, see the Synthetic Cathinones DrugFacts.
Tobacco and Nicotine Tobacco is a plant grown for its leaves, which are dried and fermented before use. Tobacco contains nicotine, an addictive chemical. Nicotine is sometimes extracted from the plant and is used in vaping devices. National Institutes of Health. Drug Topics. More Drug Topics. About NIDA. Commonly Used Drugs Charts.
Expand All. August 20, Strong hallucinations including altered visual and auditory perceptions; increased heart rate and blood pressure; nausea; burning sensation in the stomach; tingling sensations and increased skin sensitivity.
Possible changes to the serotoninergic and immune systems, although more research is needed. It is not known Drug and effects ayahuasca is addictive. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to ayahuasca or other hallucinogens. More research is needed to find out if ayahuasca is addictive and, if so, whether behavioral therapies are effective. Drowsiness, slurred speech, poor concentration, confusion, dizziness, problems with movement and memory, lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing.
Sleep medications are sometimes used as date rape drugs. Must be discussed with a health care provider; barbiturate withdrawal can cause a serious abstinence syndrome that may even include seizures. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat addiction to prescription sedatives; lowering the dose over time must be done with the help of a health care provider.
More research is needed to find out if behavioral therapies can be used to treat addiction to prescription sedatives. Cocaine hydrochloride topical solution low dose anesthetic used in certain medical procedures. Narrowed blood vessels; enlarged pupils; increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; headache; abdominal pain and nausea; euphoria; increased energy, alertness; insomnia, restlessness; anxiety; erratic and violent behavior, panic attacks, paranoia, psychosis; heart rhythm problems, heart attack; stroke, seizure, coma.
Loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, nasal damage and trouble swallowing from snorting; infection and death of bowel tissue from decreased blood flow; poor nutrition and weight loss; lung damage from smoking. Pregnancy: premature delivery, low birth weightdeficits in self-regulation and attention in school-aged children prenatally exposed. Depression, tiredness, increased appetite, insomnia, vivid unpleasant dreams, slowed thinking and movement, restlessness.
Intense visual hallucinations, depersonalization, auditory distortions, and an altered perception of time and body image, usually peaking in about 30 minutes when drank as tea. Physical effects include hypertension, increased heart rate, agitation, seizures, dilated pupils. It is not known whether DMT is addictive.
More research is needed to find out if DMT is addictive and, if so, whether behavioral therapies are effective. Euphoria, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, memory loss, unconsciousness, slowed heart rate and breathing, lower body temperature, seizures, coma, death. Insomnia, anxiety, tremors, sweating, increased heart rate and blood pressure, psychotic thoughts.
Collapsed veins; abscesses swollen tissue with pus ; infection of the lining and valves in the heart; constipation and stomach cramps; liver or Drug and effects disease; pneumonia. Pregnancy: miscarriage, low birth weight, neonatal abstinence syndrome. Restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps "cold turkey". Methadone Buprenorphine Naltrexone short- and long-acting forms.
Various household products Amyl nitrite a prescription solution is used to relieve Drug and effects of angina attacks chest pain. Paint thinners or removers, degreasers, dry-cleaning fluids, gasoline, lighter fluids, correction fluids, permanent markers, electronics cleaners and freeze sprays, glue, spray paint, hair or deodorant sprays, fabric protector sprays, aerosol computer cleaning products, vegetable oil sprays, butane lighters, propane tanks, whipped cream aerosol containers, refrigerant gases, ether, chloroform, halothane, nitrous oxide, prescription nitrites.
Nitrites: enlarged blood vessels, enhanced sexual pleasure, increased heart rate, brief sensation of heat and excitement, dizziness, headache. Liver and kidney damage; bone marrow damage; limb spasms due to nerve damage; brain damage from lack of oxygen that can cause problems with thinking, movement, vision, and hearing. Nitrites: increased risk of pneumonia.Drug and effects
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