Anti-Drugs

Keep it that way.

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine—known as “meth”—is a very addictive stimulant drug. Stimulants are a class of drugs that can boost mood, increase feelings of well-being, increase energy, and make you more alert—but they also have dangerous effects like raising heart rate and blood pressure.

Methamphetamine is a manmade, white, bitter-tasting powder. Sometimes it's made into a white pill or a shiny, white or clear rock called a crystal. Most of the meth used in the United States comes from “superlabs”—big illegal laboratories that make the drug in large quantities. But it is also made in small labs using cheap, over-the-counter ingredients such as pseudoephedrine, which is common in cold medicines. Other chemicals, some of them toxic, are also involved in making methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has high potential for abuse and is available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled. It is prescribed by a doctor in rare cases to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other conditions. In these cases, the dose is much lower than what is typically used for the purpose of getting high.

Spice

Spice is a mix of herbs (shredded plant material) and manmade chemicals with mind-altering effects. It is often called “synthetic marijuana” because some of the chemicals in it are similar to ones in marijuana; but its effects are sometimes very different from marijuana, and frequently much stronger. It is most often labeled “Not for Human Consumption” and disguised as incense.

Because the chemicals used in Spice have a high potential for abuse and no medical benefit, the Drug Enforcement Administration has made many of the active chemicals most frequently found in Spice illegal. However, the people who make these products try to avoid these laws by using different chemicals in their mixtures.

Sellers of Spice products try to lead people to believe they are “natural” and therefore harmless, but they are neither.

Heroin

Heroin is a type of opioid drug that is partly manmade and partly natural. It is made from morphine, a psychoactive (mind-altering) substance that occurs naturally in the resin of the opium poppy plant. Heroin’s color and look depend on how it is made and what else it may be mixed with. It can be white or brown powder or a black, sticky substance called “black tar heroin.”

Heroin is becoming an increasing concern in areas where lots of people abuse prescription opioid painkillers, like OxyContin and Vicodin. They may turn to heroin since it produces a similar high but is cheaper and easier to obtain. Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin.

Cocaine

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. Cocaine comes in two forms:

  • Powder cocaine is a white powder (which scientists call a hydrochloride salt). Street dealers often mix cocaine with other substances like cornstarch, talcum powder, or sugar. They also mix cocaine with active drugs like procaine, a chemical that produces local anesthesia (a local anesthetic that causes you not to feel pain in a specific area of the body) and with other stimulants like amphetamines.
  • Crack is a form of cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal that people smoke. The term “crack” refers to the cracking sound the rocks make when they are heated. To make crack, the powder cocaine is mixed with ammonia or baking soda and water and then heated to produce the crystal.

MDMA

MDMA, short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is most commonly known as “Ecstasy” or “Molly.” It is a manmade drug that produces energizing effects similar to the stimulant class amphetamines as well as psychedelic effects, similar to the hallucinogen mescaline. MDMA is known as a “club drug” because of its popularity in the nightclub scene, at “raves” (all-night dance parties), and music festivals or concerts.

MDMA is a Schedule I substance, which means that it is considered by the U.S. Federal government to have no medical benefit and a high potential for abuse. However, researchers continue to investigate the possible medical benefits for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and terminal cancer patients with anxiety.