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Abused Drug Categories

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Pills 3image by e-Magine Art (lic)Drugs and medications of abuse can be grouped together into categories based on similarities between how they work and what effects they will produce in the human body and brain. A useful categorization scheme follows. We'll consider each class of drugs in turn, but if you want to, you can skip ahead to read about the particular drug class that interests you most.

  • Central Nervous System Depressants
    • Alcohol
    • Barbiturates ['ludes, sleepers, downers, tranquilizers]
    • Benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan, Librium, Xanax) [sleepers, downers, tranquilizers]
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
    • Cocaine (Crack, Blow, Nose, Snow, Toot, White, Rock, Flake)
    • Amphetamine & Methamphetamine (Ritalin, Meth, Uppers, Bennies, Crank, Crystal)
    • Caffeine (Coffee)
    • Nicotine (Cigarettes, Chew)
  • Opiates
    • Heroin (Horse, Junk, Smack, Snow, "H", Brown, Black)
    • Morphine
    • Codeine (OxyContin, Tylenol with Codeine)
    • Methadone, LAAM

  • Cannabinols
    • Marijuana (Marinol, Pot, Grass, Weed, Brick, Joint, Thai Stick, Mary Jane)
    • Hashish (Hash, Ganja, Rope)

  • Hallucinogens
    • LSD (Acid)
    • Mescaline (Cactus)
    • Psilocybin, ('Shrooms, Mushrooms)
    • MDMA (Love Drug, "X", Esctacy)

  • Solvents
    • Aerosol sprays
    • Glues
    • Paint Thinner
    • Gasoline

  • Other Drugs of Abuse
    • PCP (Angel Dust)


Reader Comments

Wish I knew - - Oct 19th 2014

I had recreational experience with many drugs in my youth. At a certain point I compleated the "experiment". I do not use drugs for recreational purposes and think they are harmful to my body and destroy personal relationships.

i met a man who was part of my social circle. I asked him alot of questions including whether or not he used drugs. "Been there done that" was his reply. As a mature woman I took him at his word as he was also a middle aged man. He hid his use and I never suspected what was going on. After knowing him 2 years we had a very irrational quarrel. It was then I discovered his secret. I was angry at him for lying to me and putting me through so much trouble and told him to get lost.

A couple of months later he came back, saying he messed me, wanted to change, had never intended to go down this path, etc. The man is smart, educated and succesful. By then I had invested so much energy in the relationship I thought I would give it another chance because he seemed to be sincere.

Well, I wasted 2 more years of my life on this man. I wish I knew more about drug addiction. I got quite a hurtful lesson. I would say that anyone who is involved in a romantic relationship with a user should run away fast, unless the person is seriously involved in a supervised medical and emotional rehabilitation program. He always went back to his drug buddies. he loved and trusted them more than he was able to love and trust me.

club drugs - Sam Bradley - May 14th 2007
Would you please update your drug information to include the club drugs. I believe mdma is considered to be a club but what about mda and some of the others?