The Fifteen Most Commonly Abused Drugs According to the NIH
According to the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health, and one of the world’s foremost medical research centers, the following are the 15 most commonly abused drugs:
- Alcohol – Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. It is a central nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream.
- Club Drugs – Club drugs tend to be used by teenagers and young adults at bars, nightclubs, concerts, and parties. Club drugs include ketamine (A dissociative drug used as an anesthetic in veterinary practice. Dissociative drugs are hallucinogens that cause the user to feel detached from reality), MDMA (Ecstasy), Methamphetamine, and LSD (Acid).
- Cocaine – Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. It produces short-term euphoria, energy, and talkativeness in addition to potentially dangerous physical effects like raising heart rate and blood pressure.
- Hallucinogens – Hallucinogens are a diverse group of drugs that alter perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions), thoughts, and feelings. They cause hallucinations, or sensations and images that seem real though they are not.
- Heroin – Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant.
- Inhalants – Many products readily found in the home or workplace—such as spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning fluids—contain volatile substances that have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties when inhaled.
- Marijuana – Marijuana is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. In a more concentrated, resinous form, it is called hashish, and as a sticky black liquid, hash oil. The main psychoactive (mind-altering) chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
- MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly) – MDMA) is a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions). It is chemically similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens, producing feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth, and distorted sensory and time perception.
- Methamphetamine – Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant drug that is similar in structure to amphetamine. Due to its high potential for abuse, methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug and is available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled.
- Opioids – Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin as well as powerful pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and many others. These drugs are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain.
- Prescription Drugs & Cold Medicines – Some medications have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties and, because of that, are sometimes abused—that is, taken for reasons or in ways or amounts not intended by a doctor, or taken by someone other than the person for whom they are prescribed. In fact, prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are, after marijuana (and alcohol), the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older.
- Steroids (Anabolic) – “Anabolic steroids” is the familiar name for synthetic variants of the male sex hormone testosterone. The proper term for these compounds is anabolic-androgenic steroids (abbreviated AAS)—“anabolic” referring to muscle-building and “androgenic” referring to increased male sexual characteristics.
- Synthetic Cannabinoids (K2/Spice) – Synthetic cannabinoids refer to a growing number of man-made mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked (herbal incense) or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices (liquid incense).
- Synthetic Cathinones (Bath Salts) – Synthetic cathinones, more commonly known as “bath salts,” are synthetic (human-made) drugs chemically related to cathinone, a stimulant found in the khat plant.
- Tobacco/Nicotine – Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking results in more than 480,000 premature deaths in the United States each year—about 1 in every 5 U.S. deaths—and an additional 16 million people suffer with a serious illness caused by smoking. In fact, for every one person who dies from smoking, about 30 more suffer from at least one serious tobacco-related illness.
Abuse of any of these fifteen categories of drugs can result in serious physical, emotional, and psychological illness or death. Alcoholism and other drug addictions are spiritual bondage and must be fought with spiritual weapons.
If you are abusing alcohol or other drugs and want to lead a victorious life and be set free from addiction you need to have a relationship with the LORD God, Creator of the heavens and the earth. To find forgiveness and freedom, pray the following prayer or a similar prayer in your own words –
“Lord Jesus Christ,
I know that I am a sinner and there is nothing that I can do to earn my way to heaven. Although I deserve God’s wrath, by God’s mercy, I accept your free gift of eternal life by faith. I believe that You were born of a virgin and died on the cross to pay the price of my sins. I believe you were buried, rose again on the third day, have ascended into heaven, and will soon come again.
Lord, please forgive me of my sins, come into my heart and take control of my life.” AMEN