Commonly Used Substances

  • Opiates and other narcotics are powerful painkillers that can cause drowsiness, and sometimes intense feelings of well-being, elation, and excitement. These include heroin, opium, codeine, and narcotic pain medicines that may be prescribed by a doctor or bought illegally.
  • Stimulants are drugs that stimulate the brain and nervous system. They include cocaine and amphetamines, such as drugs used to treat ADHD (methylphenidate, or Ritalin). A person can start needing higher amounts of these drugs over time to feel the same effect.
  • Depressants cause drowsiness and reduce anxiety. They include alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan, Xanax), chloral hydrate, and paraldehyde. Using these substances can lead to addiction.
  • LSD, mescaline, psilocybin (“mushrooms”), and phencyclidine (PCP, or “angel dust”) can cause a person to see things that are not there (hallucinations) and can lead to psychological addiction.
  • Marijuana (cannabis, or hashish).