Drugs of Abuse

Molecular Structure of Amphetamine


Synonyms: speed, wizz, goey

Amphetamines are central nervous stimulants whose effects include alertness, wakefulness, increased energy, reduced hunger and an overall feeling of well being. Large doses and long term usage can result in higher tolerance levels and dependence. The most common source for amphetamines is prescription diet pill Phentermine.

Molecular Structure of Benzodiazepine


Synonyms: vallies, valium, moggies, rugby balls, eggs, benzos, downers, nerve pills, trank

Classified as depressants, benzodiazepines are used therapeutically to produce sedation, induce sleep, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms and to prevent seizures. In general, benzodiazepines act as hypnotics in high doses, as anxiolytics in moderate doses and as sedatives in low doses. Like the barbiturates, benzodiazepines differ from one another in how fast they take effect and how long the effects last. Shorter acting benzodiazepines, used to manage insomnia, include estazolam (ProSom), flurazepam (Dalmane), quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril) and triazolam (Halcion). Benzodiazepines with longer durations of action include alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), halazepam (Paxipam), lorazepam (Ativan), oxazepam (Serax) and prazepam (Centrax). Abuse of Benzodiazepines occurs primarily because of the “high” which replicates alcohol intoxication. Approximately 50 percent of people entering treatment for narcotic or cocaine addiction also report abusing benzodiazepines.

Molecular Structure of THC


Synonyms: grass, pot, hash, weed, reefer, mary jane, dope, herb, mull, rope, buddha, ganja, joint, stick, buckets, cones, skunk, hydro, yarndi, smoke, hooch, spliff, skunk

Tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) is an active component in marijuana. Marijuana, a hallucinogen, is commonly ingested by smoking, but it may also be eaten. Marijuana may
impair learning and coordination abilities. Marijuana is most commonly the drug of choice among teenagers and young adults. The hallucinogenic effect of Marijuana can lead to irrational behavior, disorientation, and paranoia. Low concentrations of THC persists in urine at a detectable concentration for many days after smoking. Marijuana is the most common recreational drug of abuse.

Molecular Structure of Cocaine


Synonyms: coke, crack, C, okey dokey, nose, charlie, nose candy, big C, blow, marching powder, snow, white lady, toot, ceci, candi, star dust

Cocaine is made from coca leaves. Its effects include alertness, wakefulness, increased energy and an overall feeling of euphoria. Cocaine may be smoked, inhaled (“snorted”) or injected. Cocaine can be a very addictive drug. Cocaine is metabolised by the body into the chemical compound Benzoylecgonine.

Molecular Structure of Methamphetamine


Synonyms: meth, speed, chalk, white cross, fire, ice, MDMA, mud-ma, E, ecstasy, glass

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug which is quickly metabolised to amphetamine. It is used in pill form, or in powdered form by snorting or injecting. Crystallised methamphetamine is inhaled by smoking and is a considerably more powerful form of the drug. Some of the effects of methamphetamine use include: increased heart rate,
wakefulness, physical activity and decreased appetite. Methamphetamine use can cause irreversible damage to the brain, producing strokes and convulsions, which can lead to death. Ecstasy, a new trendy and popular drug among teenagers is a refined and processed form of methamphetamine which produces feelings of enlightened empathy in users.

Molecular Structure of Morphine


Synonyms: H, hammer, skag, gear, smack, horse, elephant, rock, slow, black tar, poison, homebake, china white, white, chinese H, harry cone, junk, white dynamite, dragon

Opiates are any of the addictive narcotic drugs derived from the resin of the poppy plant. Opiates are analgesics (pain reducers) which work by depressing the central nervous system. They can also depress the respiratory system. Doctors often prescribe them for severe or chronic pain. Opiates are very addictive, both physically and psychologically.
Use for only a short time normally results in addiction. Some commonly used opiates are: Codeine, Darvon, Heroin, Methadone, Morphine, Opium, Percodan, Talwin, Dilaudid and Demerol. Opiates are commonly referred to as “downers”. Opiates can appear in many forms: white powder or crystals; small white, yellow or orange pills; large colourful capsules; clear liquid and dark brown, sticky bars or balls. Heroin accounts for the majority of the illicit opiate abuse. Some physical indications of opiate use include: extreme loss of appetite and weight, needle tracks or punctures, black and blue marks from “skin popping”, scars along veins, cramps, nausea, vomiting, excessive scratching and complaint of itching, excessive sweating, constipation, raw, red nostrils from
snorting, runny nose, pin-point pupils and watery eyes, reduced vision, drowsiness, euphoria, trance-like states, excessive thirst, tremors, twitching, unkempt appearance, strong body odour, irritability, chills; slight hallucinations and lethargy. Opiates reduce attention span, sensory and motor abilities, produce irrational behaviour, depression, paranoia, and other psychological abnormalities.

Molecular Structure of Oxycodone


Synonyms: OxyContin, Percodan, Endodan, Roxiprin, Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet

Oxycodone is a prescription medication used to manage moderate or severe pain when other treatments are not sufficient. However it is a synthetic opiate and is therefore addictive and has the potential to be abused. The pills are slow release and typically work over a period of ~12 hours however abusers often resort to modifications such as crushing the pills and snorting or injecting the resultant powder, which results in a powerful and dangerous full dose delivered in a single hit.

Molecular Structure of Phencyclidine


Synonyms: PCP, angel dust, ozone, rocket fuel, love boat

Phencyclidine is a dissociative drug that can cause disorientation and hallucinations. It can also lead to mental health issues and psychosis and has been linked to many suicides, murders, and accidental deaths. Smoking is the most common route when used recreationally and even a moderate amount of PCP often causes users to feel distant and detached from their surroundings. It is a highly addictive drug and considered by many to be one of the most dangerous drugs of abuse. High doses of the drug can lead to seizures, coma, and death (often due to accidental injury or suicide whilst intoxicated).