Besides alcohol, illegal marijuana is the most popular drug of choice in the United States. Major studies have shown that first time marijuana use was preceded by alcohol use by an average of 14 months.*
It looks like dried parsley with stems and seeds and is green, brown or grey. After alcohol, most drug use begins with marijuana, and leads to more serious drugs. Users smoke it, rolled in cigarette papers, hollowed-out cigars (blunts), pipes or water pipes (bongs). It can be mixed into foods (brownies) or brewed as a tea. It’s known as pot, grass, herb, ganja, weed, blunts and chronic.
- Affects mood and coordination. Can cause mood swings from happy to depressed.
- Increases appetite. Causes “the munchies.”
- Elevates heart rate and blood pressure.*
- Causes bloodshot eyes.
- Can cause paranoia or mild hallucinations.
- Known to create psychological dependence in teens, as a stress reliever or “feel good” solution.
- Impaired memory.*
- When marijuana users begin using as teenagers, the drug may reduce thinking, memory, and learning functions. Marijuana’s effects on these abilities may last a long time or even be permanent*
- Decreased IQ*
- Breathing problems*
- The body can demand more and more in order to achieve the same level of “high.”
- Leads to more drug experimentation.
- Significantly more potent than marijuana of the past, with dramatically stronger effects.
- Marijuana use during pregnancy is linked to increased risk of both brain and behavioral problems in babies. Resulting challenges for the child may include problems with attention, memory, and problem-solving.*
Methamphetamine is most commonly known as “meth”, and is a powerful, addictive stimulant. It can be swallowed, snorted, injected or smoked. It’s also known as crank, speed, ice, crystal, chalk, crypto, fire and glass.
- A euphoric rush, especially when smoked or injected.
- Highly addictive. Users crave more meth more often.
- Tolerance is developed quickly.
- Intense delusions, like bugs crawling under the skin.
- Development of violent, aggressive behavior over time.
- Weight loss, loss of muscle tone and tooth decay.
- After use, users experience a “crash,” including fatigue, anxiety, depression and confusion.
- Chemicals used in making meth are dangerous to people and the environment.
- Prolonged use can cause psychosis and permanent brain damage.
- Can cause convulsions, auditory hallucinations, irregular heartbeat and insomnia.
- Results in depressions, anxiety, fatigue, extreme aggression.
Cocaine is made from the dried leaves of the coca plant, and is a white, crystalline powder. Cocaine is inhaled or injected. It’s known as coke, snow, blow, nose candy, big C and white.
When cocaine is heated over a flame and combined with other substances like water and baking soda, the result is crack, named for the crackle the heat causes. It comes in white or tan pellets. It’s known as freebase or rock, and is smoked.
- Cocaine elevates the heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and body temperature.
- Both provide a burst of energy. Can cause jitteriness, dry mouth and teeth grinding.
- It’s a powerful stimulant that shocks the central nervous system for 15-30 minutes if snorted, and 10-15 minutes if smoked.
- Highly addictive. Creates physical and psychological cravings.
- Injecting cocaine or any other drug increases risk of infection of hepatitis or HIV through shared, dirty needles.
- Snorting cocaine can create holes in the lining of your nose, or chronic nasal dripping.
Ecstasy is a”designer” drug, manufactured by foreign or “underground” chemists. It’s available in powder, tablet or capsule form and is swallowed or snorted. It combines a hallucinogenic with a stimulant and intensifies all emotions. Also known as X, XTC, Adam, E, Roll.
Molly is a street name for a drug that is pushed as a pure form of MDMA. Molly has been flooding the market and has become popular in the electronic music scene over the past several years. Although users believe this synthetic drug to be pure MDMA, Rusty Payne, a spokesman from the DEA, said that 80 to 90% of the time they are given a substance believed to be MDMA, it is something else.
- A tingly sensation of the skin.
- Increased heart rate and raised body temperature.
- Dry mouth.
- Can cause cramps, blurred vision, chills or sweats and nausea.
- Users tend to clench their jaws while using. Many teens or young adults chew on things like pacifiers while on Ecstasy.
- Can cause depression, paranoia, anxiety and confusion.
- Can cause organ damage or death.
- With chronic use, depression, paranoia, anxiety and confusion can become permanent.
- Can cause fatal heart attacks and breathing cessation, even with one use.
- Highly addictive, with intense physical and psychological cravings.
Heroin is derived from the dried, processed liquid resin of the opium poppy. It can be in a powder form or a sticky, tar-like substance. The powder can range from white to dark brown in color. It’s injected, smoked or, in its pure form, inhaled. It’s known as Horse, Smack, Big H or Junk.
- A euphoric burst of high feelings, followed by drowsiness, nausea, stomach cramps and vomiting.
- Highly addictive. Users feel the need to take more heroin as soon as possible, in order to feel good again.
- Heroin ravages the body over time. Chronic constipation, dry skin, scarred veins and breathing problems are just a few of the long-term symptoms.
- If injected with a needle, users are susceptible to collapsed veins and exposure to infections through shared needles.
- Easy to overdose on.
- Extreme withdrawal symptoms, including insomnia, vomiting and muscle pain.