Drugs are classified in a number of ways. Many are potentially addictive and harmful. Examples include:
- Psychotropic prescription drugs when adults and youth use them for nonmedical reasons.
- Illegal drugs include especially dangerous narcotics that are harmful physically and mentally; they are not regulated so the user really does not know what is in them.
- Over-the-counter medications are not harmless just because they don’t require a prescription.
- Marijuana, or cannabis, although medically legal in some states, it is still a drug.
- Nicotine and tobacco
- New synthetic drugs are still arriving on the scene and may not be legally banned by some states, including “N-Bomb.” This is a potent synthetic hallucinogen, which is a derivative of mescaline, a naturally-occurring psychedelic alkaloid.
Drug addiction is a complex neurobiological disease that requires holistic treatment of the mind, body and spirit.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 9.4 percent of the U.S. population ages 12 or older needed rehab for an illegal drug or alcohol problem in 2007, but only 10.4 percent of those who needed treatment actually received it. 12-Step practice and support helps to sustain both the addict and the family in recovery.
Prescription drug abuse
Prescription drugs are used by all age groups for non-medical reasons, often in combination with alcohol. The risks of drug interaction or accidental overdose can be deadly. Psychoactive prescription drugs include:
- Anti-obsessive agents
- Mood stabilizers
- Anti-anxiety drugs
- Stimulants to treat ADHD
- Anti-panic agents
Top misused prescription drugs include those that have been over-prescribed such as:
Benzodiazepines are sedative and hypnotic drugs that exist in numerous forms, including anxiolytic and anti-convulsants and their combinations. Brand names are numerous and include Valium, Rose, Clozan, Seresta, Paxil and others. These medications have a half-life ranging from 2.5 hours to over 200 hours.
Opioids are drugs that affect the central nervous system and are prescribed for pain.
Marijuana abuse causes relationship problems and other negative consequences including withdrawal. It is addictive. There may be additives or stronger drugs in pot (or weed) that users do not know about. Those who suffer from mental disorders may exacerbate their condition by smoking pot. Marijuana use has been widely viewed as a gateway drug to other substance abuse.
Over-the-counter drugs (OTCs) can interact badly with other medicines or drugs that a person is taking and can cause anxiety and other reactions. Drug users may take an OTC to heighten the effect of another drug.
Broad classifications of illegal drugs include:
- Opioids, including heroin, which is a dangerous and popular choice
- Anabolic steroids build muscle mass and raise athletic performance levels, but carry physical and mental health risks.
- Hallucinogens include psychedelics such as LSD and peyote
- Stimulants such as amphetamines and methamphetamines manufactured illegally include MDMA, or Ecstasy, and crystal meth
- Cocaine is a derivative of the coca plant