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Drug Facts You Need To Know - for parents

Drug Facts You Need To Know

Facts For Parents About Kids and Drugs

Drug Facts You Need To Know

When you talk with your child about alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs, it's best to know as much background information as you can. The following descriptions are by no means comprehensive, but they give you a broad overview of the substances your child may be exposed to or ask you about.



Drug Names: Heroin, morphine, codeine, Dilaudid, Demerol, Percodan, Methadone, Talwin.

Street Names: Heroin, Smack, Junk, Horse, H, Tar. Morphine - Mojo, Mud, Mary, Murphy, M, Miss Emma, Mister Black. Codeine, Schoolboy, Cody, Captain Cody. Methadone - Dollies, Fizzies.

Symptoms of Use: Lethargy, drowsiness, euphoria, nausea, constipation, constricted pupils, slowed breathing.

Potential Consequences: HIV infection, heart or respiratory problems, mood swings, chronic constipation, tremors, toxic psychosis, high potential for addiction.

Routes of Administration: Injected and ingested.

Medical Use: For pain relief (except heroin and methadone).

Legal Status: Illegal except by prescription.


Product Names: LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), PCP (phencyclidine), DMT (dimethyltryptamine), Mescaline, MDA (methylenedioxyamphetamine), STP (dimethoxymethamphetamine), psilocybin, Rohypnol, GHB (gammahydroxybutyric acid), MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine).

Street Names: LSD: A, Acid, Blotter, Microdots, Windowpane. PCP: Angel Dust, Angel Mist, Animal Tranquilizer. Psilocybin: Mushrooms, Magic Mushrooms, Shrooms. MDMA: Ecstasy, E, X, XTC. Rohypnol: R-2, Roofies, Roaches, "The Date Rape Drug." GHB: Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid X, Georgia Home Brew, Georgia Home Boyz.

Symptoms of Use: Trance-like state, excitation, euphoria, increased pulse rate, insomnia, hallucinations.

Potential Consequences: Impaired judgment and coordination can result in greater risk for injury, self-inflicted injury, violent behavior, paranoia, depression or anxiety, unpredictable flashbacks.

Route of Administration: Ingested.

Medical Use: None, except oxycontin.

Legal Status: Illegal.


Drug Product Names: Beer, gin, vodka, bourbon, whiskey, tequila, liqueurs, wine, brandy, champagne, rum, sherry, port, coolers, "lab punch."

Street Names: Booze, Sauce, Brews, Brewskis, Hard Stuff, Juice.

Symptoms of Use: Slurred speech, impaired judgment and motor skills, incoordination, confusion, tremors, drowsiness, agitation, nausea and vomiting, respiratory ailments, depression.

Potential Consequences: Impaired judgment can result in inappropriate sexual behavior, sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV/AIDS), injuries, and auto crashes. Habitual use can lead to an inability to control drinking, high tolerance level, blackouts and memory loss, interference with personal relationships, cirrhosis of the liver, vitamin deficiencies, damage to heart and central nervous system, sexual impotence, weight gain.

Route of Administration: Ingested.

Medical Uses: For appetite stimulation and mild sedation.

Legal Status: Illegal under 21.


Drug Product Names: Sleeping pills and tranquilizers (Seconal, Nembutal, Smytal, Quaalude, Miltown, Norcet, Placidyl, Valium, Librium, Tauxene, Ativan, Xanax, Serax).

Street Names: Downers, Ludes, Vs, Blues, Goofball, Red Devil, Blue Devil, Yellow Jackets, Yellow Bullets, Pink Ladies, Christmas Trees, Phennies, Peanuts.

Symptoms of Use: Drowsiness, confusion, incoordination, tremors, slurred speech, depressed pulse rate, shallow respiration, dilated pupils.

Potential Consequences: Anxiety, depression, restlessness, psychotic episodes, chronic fatigue, insomnia, changes in eyesight, irregular menstruation, stopped breathing, suicide, dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect, severe withdrawal symptoms.

Route of Administration: Ingested.

Medical Uses: For tranquilization, sedation, and sleep.

Legal Status: Prescription only.

Cocaine/Crack Cocaine

Drug Product Names: Cocaine, crack cocaine.

Street Names: Cocaine: Coke, Snow, Blow, Toot, Nose Candy, Flake, Dust, Sneeze. Crack Cocaine, Crack, Rock, Base, Sugar Block, Rox/Roxanne.

Symptoms of Use: Excitability, euphoria, talkativeness, anxiety, increased pulse rate, dilated pupils, paranoia, agitation, hallucinations.

Potential Consequences: High risk for addiction, violent or erratic behavior, hallucinations, cocaine psychosis, eating or sleeping disorders, impaired sexual performance, ongoing respiratory problems, ulceration of the mucous membrane of the nose, collapse of the nasal septum, death from cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest.

Routes of Administration: Sniffed and smoked.

Medical Use: None.

Legal Status: Illegal.


Drug Product Names: Organic solvents, nitrous oxide, nitrites, aerosols, airplane glue, nail polish remover, lighter fluid, gasoline, paints, hair spray.

Street Names: Glue, Kick, Bang, Sniff, Huff, Poppers, Whippets, Texas Shoeshine.

Symptoms of Use: Slurred speech, incoordination, nausea, vomiting, slowed breathing.

Potential Consequences: Brain damage; pains in chest, muscles, and joints; heart trouble; severe depression; toxic psychosis; nerve damage; fatigue; loss of appetite; bronchial tube spasm; sores on nose or mouth; nosebleeds; diarrhea; nausea; bizarre or reckless behavior; sudden death; suffocation.

Route of Administration: Sniffed.

Medical Use: Nitrous oxide only, for anesthesia.

Legal Status: Most products available in retail stores.

Cannabis (Marijuana)

Drug Product Names: Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, Cannabis sativa, marijuana, hashish, hashish oil.

Street Names: Weed, Pot, Grass, Reefer, Mary Jane, Joint, Roach, Nail, Blunt. (Blunt refers to a cigar into which marijuana is rolled.)

Symptoms of Use: Mood swings, euphoria, slow thinking and reflexes, dilated pupils, increased appetite, dryness of mouth, increased pulse rate, delusions, hallucinations.

Potential Consequences: Amotivational syndrome, memory impairment, weight gain, increased risk for cancer, lower sperm counts and lower testosterone levels for men, increased risk of infertility for women, psychological dependence requiring more of the drug to get the same effect. Marijuana serves as a barrier against self-awareness, and users may not be able to learn key developmental skills.

Routes of Administration: Ingested and smoked.

Medical Use: None.

Legal Status: Illegal.


Drug Product Names: Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, Biphetamine, Dexedrine, Desoxyn, Tenuate, Ionamin, Tepanil, Methcathinone.

Street Names: Methamphetamine: Speed, Crystal, Meth, Ice, Glass, Crank, Go. Methcathinone: Cat, Jeff, Goob, Stat, Star. Amphetamine: Bennies, Benz, Uppers. Dexedrine: Dexies, Brownies.

Symptoms of Use: Excitability, tremors, insomnia, sweating, dry mouth and lips, bad breath, dilated pupils, weight loss, paranoia, hallucinations.

Potential Consequences: Weight loss, nutritional deficiency, chronic sleep problems, high blood pressure, paranoia, anxiety or nervousness, decreased emotional control, severe depression, violent behavior, death from heart failure or suicide.

Routes of Administration: Ingested.

Medical Use: For narcolepsy, obesity, hyperkinesis.

Legal Status: Prescription only.


Drug Product Names: Cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco.

Street Names: Cancer Sticks, Sticks, Bidis (flavored, hand-rolled cigarettes), Cloves (60% tobacco/40% cloves), Chew, Smoke, Bone, Butt, Coffin Nail.

Symptoms of Use: Smelly hair, clothes, and breath; yellowing of teeth; coughs; increased asthma attacks; shortness of breath and poorer athletic performance. After only a few weeks, users of spit tobacco can develop cracked lips, white spots, sores, and bleeding in the mouth.

Potential Consequences: Addiction; respiratory problems such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis; heart and cardiovascular disease; cancer of the lung, larynx, esophagus, bladder, pancreas, kidney, and mouth.

Routes of Administration: Smoked or ingested orally (chew or spit tobacco).

Medical Use: None.

Legal Status: Illegal for youth under 19 in Alabama, Alaska, and Utah. Illegal for youth under 18 in all remaining States.

Drug Facts For Today

The effects on both the body and brain of marijuana and other drugs are potentially more intense now than in the past because some of the drugs are more potent. For example, because of new growing and harvesting techniques, marijuana is about 275 percent more potent than it was just 10 years ago. It also often is laced with other drugs such as PCP or crack cocaine, sometimes without the users knowledge. The environment of the drug culture also is more dangerous today. Studies show that youth who use alcohol or illegal drugs are more likely to be perpetrators or victims of violent crimes.

If you would like information about illegal drugs and alcohol written for young people, check out our Teens Drug Information Resource page.