Listed below is information on other illicit drugs commonly used.

Cough and Cold Medicine (Over-the-Counter)

  • Millions of Americans take cough and cold medicines each year to help with symptoms of colds. When taken as instructed, these medicines can be safe and effective. They become harmful when taken in a way or dose other than directed on the package.
  • Dextromethorphan (DXM) cough syrup, tablets, and gel capsules. These OTC cough medicines are safe for stopping coughs during a cold if you take them as directed. Taking more than the recommended amount can produce a "high" and sometimes dissociative effects (like you are detached from your body).
  • Promethazine-codeine cough syrup. These prescription medications contain an opioid drug called codeine, which stops coughs, but when taken in higher doses produces a "buzz" or "high."


  • Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, with 37.6 million users in the past year, and marijuana use may have a wide range of health effects on the body and brain. About 1 in 10 marijuana users will become addicted.
  • For people who begin using before the age of 18, that number rises to 1 in 6. People who are addicted to marijuana may also be at a higher risk of other negative consequences of using the drug, such as problems with attention, memory, and learning.
  • For more information about marijuana use in teens click here.


  • Spice is a mix of herbs (shredded plant material) and laboratory-made chemicals with mind-altering effects.
  • It is often called “synthetic marijuana” or "fake weed" because some of the chemicals in it are similar to ones in marijuana.
  • Its effects are sometimes very different from marijuana, and often much stronger.
  • Usually the chemicals are sprayed onto plant materials to make them look like marijuana.


  • Inhalants are chemicals found in ordinary household or workplace products that people inhale on purpose to get “high.”
  • People often don’t realize that inhaling the fumes of these products, even just once, can be very harmful to the brain and body and can lead to death.
  • The chemicals found in these products can change the way the brain works and cause other problems in the body.


  • Cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America.
  • Cocaine enters the body through the nose by snorting, and directly into the blood stream by injecting or rubbing it into gums above the teeth.
  • The crystal of crack cocaine is heated in a glass pipe to produce vapors that are absorbed into the blood through the lungs.
  • Cocaine can be deadly when taken in large doses or when mixed with other drugs or alcohol.
  • Cocaine-related deaths often happen because the heart stops (cardiac arrest), then breathing stops.
  • Using cocaine and drinking alcohol or using other drugs increases these dangers, including the risk of overdose.

Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth, Meth)

  • “Crystal meth” is a large, usually clear crystal that is smoked in a glass pipe.
  • Smoking or injecting the drug delivers it very quickly to the brain, where it produces an immediate and intense high.
  • Because the feeling doesn’t last long, users often take the drug repeatedly, in a “binge and crash” pattern.
  • Methamphetamine can be even more harmful when mixed with alcohol.
  • Methamphetamine can raise your body temperature so much that you pass out.
  • If not treated right away, this can cause death.
  • Death can also occur from heart attack or stroke because the drug raises your heartbeat and blood pressure, and constricts blood vessels.

MDMA (Ecstasy, Molly)

  • It is a laboratory-made drug that produces a “high” similar to the stimulants called amphetamines.
  • It also produces psychedelic effects, similar to the hallucinogens mescaline and LSD.
  • Most people who use MDMA take it in a pill, tablet, or capsule. The pills can be different colors and sometimes have cartoon-like images on them.
  • Researchers and law enforcement have found that much of the Ecstasy sold today contains other harmful and possibly deadly drugs.
  • In some recent cases, drugs sold as MDMA actually contain no MDMA at all.


  • Salvia (Salvia divinorum) is an herb in the mint family found in southern Mexico.
  • The main active ingredient in salvia, salvinorin A, changes the chemistry in the brain, causing hallucinations (seeing something that seems real but isn’t).
  • The effects usually last less than 30 minutes but may be very intense and frightening.