Familiar Name
Alcohol Booze, drink Acts as central nervous system depressant, so reduces anxiety, concentration is impaired, reactions slowed Long-term effects include liver disease (cirrhosis, liver cancer, hepatitis, heart disease, inflammation of stomach. Alcoholics have above average chance of developing dementia.
Amphetamines Uppers, speed, bennies Promote feelings of alertness, increase in speech and physical activity. Can produce toxic effects, mood swings, circulatory and cardiac disturbances, feelings of paranoia, hallucinations, convulsions.
Barbiturates (Nembutal, Seconal, Amytal) Barbs, reds, downers Calm the nerves, induce sleep, hypnotic effect Highly addictive, overdose is lethal, can induce state of coma, often fatal if taken with alcohol
Benzodiazepines Tranquilizers Reduce mental activity and anxiety, slow body's reactions, reduce alertness Can cause dependency. Withdrawal symptoms occur on stopping the drug-anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, headaches and palpitations.
Cocaine Coke, crack, ice, snow (Crack is a blend of cocaine, baking powder and water) Increased blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and body temperature, feelings of euphoria, illusions of increased sensory awareness and mental and physical strength, decrease in hunger, pain and need for sleep. Regular use can cause anxiety, insomnia, weight loss, increased paranoia and psychosis. Crack is highly addictive and has more intense effects than cocaine. Increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, stroke and death. Long-term consequences include mental deterioration, personality changes, paranoia or violent behavior.
Heroin Junk, smack Induces euphoria, relieves paid and often induces sleep Highly addictive. Overdose can result in death; serum hepatitis is common; skin abscesses, inflammation of the veins; constipation, respiratory depression.
Lysergic acid diethylamide LSD, acid Hallucinations, vision alters, rise in temperature and heartbeat, flashbacks. Long-term use causes anxiety and depression; impaired memory and attention span; difficulty with abstract thinking.
Marijuana Grass, pot, weed, dope Increase in heartbeat, heightens senses, feelings of euphoria and relaxation Reduces the ability to perform tasks requiring concentration, slows reactions and impairs coordination.
MDMA Ecstasy, E Mental relaxation, increased sensitivity to stimuli, sometimes hallucinations High doses have amphetamine-like effects. Can produce severe or fatal reactions, sometimes after only one dose.
Mescaline Peyote, cactus buttons Induces hallucinations, affects sensations and perceptions Loss of control of normal thought processes; long-term depression and anxiety; can induce 'breaks from reality'.
Methadone   Induces sleep and feeling of relaxation Addictive, overdose can result in death.
Nicotine   Stimulates the nervous system; increases concentration, relieves tension and fatigue; increases heart rate and blood pressure. Taken regularly can cause increase in fatty acids in bloodstream, increases risk of heart disease and circulatory problems, can also increase risk of peptic ulcers. Increased risk of lung, throat and mouth cancers from tobacco smoke.
Nitrites Poppers Gives the user a rapid high, felt as a rush of energy. Heart rate increases, feelings of dizziness and nausea. High doses can cause fainting. Lasting physical damage in the form of cardiac problems can occur.
Phencyclidine PCP, Angel Dust Feeling of euphoria, floating sensation; numbness; change in user's perception of the body; visual disturbances. Can produce violent behavior against the user or others; schizophrenic-like psychosis which can last for days or weeks.
Solvents   Lightheadedness, dizziness and drowsiness. Large doses can lead to loss of consciousness. Some products can seriously disrupt heart rhythm or cause heart failure and sometimes death. Aerosols can cause suffocation by coating the lungs. Risk of death also from depression of the breathing mechanism. Long-term misuse leads to kidney and liver damage.