Understanding Addictive Drugs

Everyone is aware of how prolific dangerous drugs are on the streets of California. But do you really know what’s out there and what makes them so dangerous? Understanding addictive drugs that are being distributed in our community is essential. The more we know about these drugs, the more we can work to prevent addiction and overdoses among our friends and family.

addictive drugs

Methamphetamine is an illegal and highly addictive stimulant. The short-term effects of Meth include alertness and euphoria which can cause users to become immediately addicted. Long-term use of Meth can lead to problems such as violent behavior, psychosis, severe dental problems, and paranoia. In 2020, 2.5 million Americans aged 12 or older reported having used methamphetamine in the past year, according to the CDC.

Cocaine is an illegal and highly addictive stimulant made from the leaves of the South American coca plant. It commonly comes in a powder form that is snorted or injected. It can also be smoked or administered to the skin. Street names for Cocaine include blow, bump, coke, and snow. Crack is the more pure and potent form of Cocaine, which typically comes in solid blocks or crystals. It is typically smoked or injected, allowing it to reach the brain more quickly and result in an intense high. In 2020, more than 19,000 people in the United States died from an overdose involving cocaine.

Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive substance that is synthetically derived from the Opium poppy plant. It comes in the form of white or brownish powder, or as a black and sticky substance known as “black tar.” Heroin is most commonly injected though it can also be snorted, smoked, or consumed orally. In 2020, more than 13,000 people died in the United States from an overdose involving heroin. Prescription opioids, which are sometimes prescribed to treat moderate-to-severe pain following surgery or injury, are also highly addictive and often lead to Heroin use. From 1999 to 2020, more than 263,000 people died in the United States from overdoses involving prescription opioids.

Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic man-made opioid.  Illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) is non-pharmaceutical fentanyl made illegally and sometimes mixed into other drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin.  In 2020, more than 56,000 people died from overdoses involving synthetic opioids, including IMF.

Ecstasy is an illicit drug often used by high-schoolers and young adults. It is considered a party or rave drug and is dangerous because it can lower inhibitions. Its psychoactive effects include enhanced sensory perception. Ecstasy is most commonly taken orally in pill form or dissolved in water but can also be snorted or injected.

Hallucinogens, like LSD, PCP, Mushrooms, and Salvia, are all examples of psychoactive or mind-altering drugs. While an addiction to this type of drug is less common than other drugs, use and abuse of these substances can cause dangerous consequences and severe negative side effects.

Inhalants include household items such as spray paints, markers and cleaning supplies which are inhaled through the mouth or nose in order to achieve a high. Inhaling certain types of these substances can lead to heart failure, resulting in death.

Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused addictive substances. The main psychoactive ingredient, THC, causes temporary euphoria followed by drowsiness, slowed reaction time, and increased appetite. Synthetic Marijuana refers to the growing number of manufactured substances that contain a chemical similar to THC. Its effects can be unpredictable and intense.

While the decision to use one of these drugs for the first time is usually voluntary, an unexpected addiction can make the decision to quit much harder. Addiction changes the way a person’s brain operates and, consequently, the way that person behaves.

The good news is that Cedar House is here to help. As long as these deadly drugs are on the streets, people in our community will be susceptible to them. The dedicated staff at Cedar House is committed to empowering those who are suffering with substance use and co-occurring disorders through the challenges of addiction. Support our mission today. Together, we can make a change. We can combat the drug culture and bring about a safer, healthier community.