Illicit Drugs: Types and Effects

Illicit drugs include highly addictive and illegal substances such as heroin and methamphetamine. Opioids, cocaine, amphetamines, and cannabis are the most commonly used illicit drug groups in international statistics. Other illicit drugs, such as plant-based and synthetic hallucinogens, are included in international drug control treaties. The UNODC publication Terminology and Information on Drugs contains a comprehensive list of illicit drugs and their classification. Even a single use of some of these substances can lead to dangerous patterns of abuse. When a person develops a physical or psychological dependence on illicit drugs, it supersedes over everything else in their life. People who want to quit the terrible habit of consuming illegal substances should seek therapy.

Illicit Drugs

Types of Illicit Drugs


The opium poppy plant produces a class of drugs known as opioids. Some prescription opioids are manufactured directly from the plant, while others are created in laboratories utilising the same chemical structure. Opioids are commonly used as pain relievers because they include substances that relax the body. Prescription opioids are generally used to treat moderate to severe pain, while they can also be used to treat coughing and diarrhoea in some cases. Opioids can make people feel euphoric and calm, which is why they are sometimes taken for non-medical purposes. Because opioids are highly addictive, overdoses and deaths are common, this can be risky. Heroin is one of the most harmful opiates on the planet.


Cocaine, a stimulant with effects similar to excessive caffeine, is most widely inhaled in powder form. This illicit drug is extremely addictive, and prolonged use can lead to extreme weight loss and nasal passage damage.

Crack Cocaine:

A more potent, freebase form of cocaine, crack cocaine is typically smoked through a short pipe, resulting in blisters and burns on the mouth and hands. Crack cocaine addiction can develop after just one use.


Young adults who attend parties or raves frequently consume ecstasy. It is a stimulant with hallucinogenic potential. Many forms of ecstasy are mixed with far more dangerous substances such as heroin and LSD.


Hallucinogens are mind-altering, psychoactive substances that have a high potential for abuse. People who want to disrupt their sense of reality frequently use these substances. Hallucinogens are also used to self-medicate mental illnesses such as depression. Taking hallucinogens for self-medication, on the other hand, can worsen an underlying condition.


Heroin is a synthetic derivative of morphine and one of the most addictive substances on the planet. Heroin is available as a powder or as a sticky gel known as black tar heroin. Abscesses and scabs on the skin, as well as psychological and internal damage, can result from long-term heroin abuse.


Ketamine is most commonly used as an anaesthetic in animals undergoing surgery, but it is also commonly abused recreationally by teenagers and college students. It has also been used as a date rape drug because it has no odour or taste, making it difficult to detect when mixed in drinks.


Marijuana is a drug derived from the cannabis plant that is dried, rolled, and smoked. Marijuana, also referred to as “weed” or “pot,” is becoming legal in several jurisdictions. Continued marijuana addiction, on the other hand, can result in brain damage and lung harm.

Synthetic Marijuana:

Synthetic marijuana, often known as Spice or K2, is a man-made narcotic that has a component that is identical to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. Many individuals believe synthetic marijuana is a safer alternative to marijuana because it can be acquired legally. Synthetic marijuana, on the other hand, is highly addictive and can provide euphoric effects comparable to natural marijuana.

Over-the-counter medicines: 

Dextromethorphan (DXM) is a cough suppressant that can be found in over-the-counter cough, cold, and flu drugs. Cough syrups, gel capsules, and pills that resemble candies are all examples of DXM-containing products. Young people frequently misuse them, referring to the technique as “robotripping” or “skittling.” Loperamide can be taken as a pill, capsule, or liquid. Opioids include DXM and loperamide. DXM has no effect on pain relief or addiction, and it doesn’t interact with opioid receptors. DXM, on the other hand, can have a depressive and hallucinogenic impact when taken in big dosages. The short-term consequences of DXM abuse might range from modest stimulation to drunkenness similar to that of alcohol or marijuana.

CNS Depressants:

Sedatives, tranquillizers, and hypnotics are examples of CNS depressants. Anxiety, panic, acute stress reactions, and sleep disturbances are commonly treated with them. Barbiturates (e.g., phenobarbitol) and sleep drugs like Ambien® and Lunesta® are examples of sedatives. Tranquilizers include benzodiazepines like Valium® and Xanax® as well as muscle relaxants and other anti-anxiety drugs. When these medications are overused, they can induce drowsiness, slurred speech, poor focus, disorientation, dizziness, mobility and memory issues, reduced blood pressure, and slower breathing.

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