Drugs of abuse & addiction

Illegal drug use can have serious negative effects on your physical and mental health, relationships with family and friends, and public safety. It may also cause legal and economic problems.

This section offers information on illegal drugs for adults, parents, and teens. You'll also find definitions for common drug terms and learn how different drugs can affect your body and brain.

Parents can access tools and information to help keep their kids drug-free. Teens can learn the dangers of experimenting with illegal drugs and how to say no.

In this topic

Alcohol abuse

Alcohol is a depressant drug that slows down your body's central nervous system.

Bath Salts

"Bath salts" (also known as synthetic cathinones) are man-made designer drugs that produce both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects.

Cocaine and crack cocaine

Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant and comes from the leaves of the South American coca bush.

Drug terms

When the term "drug" is used in this section, it refers to illegal drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy, GHB, heroin, ketamine, LSD, methamphetamine, magic mushrooms, and PCP.


Ecstasy, also known as MDMA or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is a synthetic drug that is both a stimulant and a hallucinogen.

GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate)

GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) is a central nervous system depressant, naturally present in the body in very small amounts. However, it can also be made in illegal labs and sold on the street.


Heroin is a central nervous system depressant. It is a semi-synthetic drug made from morphine, a natural substance that comes from the opium poppy plant.


Ketamine is a synthetic drug which is a hallucinogen but also combines features associated with stimulants and depressants.

Learn about drugs: parents

The Youth Drug Prevention for Parents website has a number of features to help you keep your kids away from drugs.

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide)

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a semi-synthetic hallucinogen that is commonly referred to as "acid."

Magic mushrooms (psilocybin)

Psilocybin is a hallucinogen and is the principal psychoactive component of a certain species of mushrooms known as "magic mushrooms."

Methamphetamine (speed, crystal meth)

Methamphetamine ("crystal meth" or "speed") is a synthetic central nervous system stimulant.

PCP (phencyclidine)

PCP (phencyclidine) is a synthetic hallucinogen but also combines features associated with stimulants and depressants.


"Spice" (also known as synthetic cannabinoids) is a term for products containing man-made herbal blends that produce powerful marijuana-like effects.


Learn about drugs: youth

Check out DrugsNot4Me to learn the facts about illegal drugs, and their risks.

Marijuana (cannabis, also hash, hash oil, and hemp)

Marijuana, hash, hash oil, and hemp are different products coming from the Cannabis sativa plant. They all contain the hallucinogen tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but in different concentrations.

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