Street drugs are illicit substances that have no medicinal value and are distributed on the black market. Some of these drugs have always been contraband, but others such as cocaine and heroin were once prescribed to patients before their danger was known.
Some of the common street drugs
According to a survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse or NIDA the most commonly abused street drugs are:
- Marijuana 12mil
- Hallucinogens (LSD, Psilocybin, Ayahuasca, DMT and MDMA, etc.) 6mil
- Cocaine 5mil
- Methamphetamine 2 mil
- Heroin.74 mil
Illegal street drugs
Fueled by part by the opioid epidemic and the recent COVID-19 health crisis, the abuse of illicit drugs is on the rise. In fact, opioid abuse has not only led to an uptick in street heroin, but it has also generate black-market demand for prescription opioids.
While not technically street drugs, oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine, and others found on the streets can be modified or combined with other drugs increasing the likelihood of overdose.
Addictive Street Drugs
Street drugs in addition to being dangerous, are also believed to be more addictive. While this is not always the case, the main street drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine exemplify this trait. But what makes these drugs so addictive?
When discussing why certain drugs are more addictive than others, it is generally understood as being broken down into three factors: potency, dependency, and rate of onset.
Drugs that are more potent, interact at receptor-cites producing larger amounts of neurotransmitters. Dopamine, a key neurotransmitter associated with drug addiction can be measured in units. As a point of reference, sexual intercourse is 200 units. Crystal meth by comparison, delivers a stupefying 1250 units of dopamine to the brain.
Drugs that induce dependency change the brains neurochemistry overtime, establishing new norms of brain functioning in line with the effects that a substance delivers.
Those abusing opioids for example, may become physically accustomed to the pain-killing effects as well as the calming and euphoric effects of the drug. Without the drug in their system, however, opioid withdrawals can occur just 8-hours after the last dosage.
Smoking or injecting are two methods for rapidly increasing the onset of a drug. The near-instantaneous delivery of smoking crystal meth or injecting heroin quickly overwhelms receptor-cites with great effect. It also increases the likelihood of abuse.
Don’t let the name fool you, the kind of bath salts under discussion are not your run-of-the-mill herbal mixture. Instead, they refer to a substance called cathinone: a chemical deriving from the khat plant and hailing from Africa and the Middle East.
Bath salts belong to a class of substances called designer drugs–synthetic stimulants which bear a resemblance to methamphetamine. Far from having any medicinal value, bath salts are made in private factories overseas and contain dangerous chemicals like methylenedioxypyrovalerone, mephedrone and pyrovalerone.
When consumed, bath salts increase energy levels, alertness, and sociability but it has negative effects as well. Those abusing bath salts suffer from paranoia, aggression, insomnia, and confusion.
Common street names for bath salts include: Flakka, White Dove, Cloud Nine,Meph White Lightning, Bliss, Vanilla Sky and Zoom.
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant that derives from the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine comes as either a hydrochloride salt that is ingested, snorted, or injected. When freebased, crack is smoked in a crystalline form and referred to as crack.
Cocaine produces powerful effects such as euphoria, alertness, hypersensitivity and sociability.
Street names for cocaine include: Blow, Bump, Coke, Dust and Nose Candy.
Pearl, Snow and Speedball.
Additionally, crack cocaine may be referred to as: Candy, Cookies, Base, Dice, Gravel, Jellybeans and Rocks.
Heroin is a partially synthetic opioid derived from morphine; a substance found in the seed pod of the opium poppy plant. Street heroin may be found as a white or brown powder or as a dark compressed form called black tar heroin.
Users achieve their high by injecting smoking or eating the drug. The physical effects of the heroin high include a powerful numbing throughout the body accompanied by a feeling of warmth. Heroin users also report a rush of euphoria and relief from negative emotions.
Street names for heroin include: Dope, Junk, Horse, Smack,H, Thunder and Hell Dust.
Krokodil or Desomorphine is a black-market opioid synthesized from codeine. Krokodil (Russian for crocodile), gets its nickname for the green skin lesions that form along the injection cites.
The effects ofDesomorphineare similar to that of heroin but shorter in duration. In order to prolong the effects,Krokodiluserswillinjectthe drug several times a day, increasing the odds of addiction.5
Street names for Desomorphine include:Krocodil, Krok and Croc.
Lysergic aciddiethylamide or LSD is a powerful synthetic hallucinogen. Originally LSD was strongly associated with the youth culture of the 60s and 70s, but it is still popular today among young adults and teenagers who frequent clubs or raves.
LSD comes as a clear liquid which is both odorless and tasteless. The substance is then usually dropped on to paper squares or directly on the tongue.
While LSD is not considered to be addictive, there are still risks when taking the drug. Users of the drug experience strong visual and auditory hallucinations accompanied by drastic changes in mood (i.e., paranoia, delusions, feelings of bliss and identity dissolution).
There are several street names for LSD including: Acid, Lucy, Blotters, Dots, Tabs, Boomers, Mellow Yellow and Yellow Sunshine.