In a Drug Facts Nationwide Trends Report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse an estimated 22.5 million United States citizens over the age of 12 are current drug users. This being 8.7% of the total population the drugs that were most abused in the country are as follows:
Marijuana – used by 18.1% of the population
Psychotherapeutics – used by 6.1% of the population
Cocaine – used by 1.4% of the population
Hallucinogens – used by 1.0% of the population
Inhalants – used by 0.6% of the population
Heroin – used by 0.3% of the population
Though some are similar with effects overlapping, many of these drugs have their own histories and information regarding their use and abuse patterns. Of them, the most common is marijuana.
Specific Drug Information Breakdown
Marijuana is a mix of dry leaves, stems, seeds and flowers from the Cannabis Sativa plant. It is smoked but can also be taken orally and put into food and baked goods. Some of the effects of marijuana include:
- Decrease in energy
- Hunger (called “the munchies”)
- Inappropriate laughter
- Change in speech patterns (slowed speech)
- Lack of motivation
- Mood swings
- Red (bloodshot) eyes
Psychotherapeutics are antidepressant drugs, antianxiety medication and antipsychotic drugs.
Stimulant drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin are also included in this category. The effects of these pills depend on which type of psychotherapeutic drug is taken.
Some of the most common antidepressant drugs are
Those taking anti-depressants may feel nausea, insomnia, decreased sex drive, restlessness, dizziness, weight gain, tiredness, sweating, tremors and dry mouth.
Some common anti-anxiety medications are:
When an individual is taking anti-anxiety medications they will feel tired, dizzy, forgetful, and have impaired thinking and judgment.
Some common antipsychotic drugs are:
Depending on the type of antipsychotic drugs a person takes they may have varying symptoms from confusion to disorientation to mood swings.
With one of the oldest known histories in the world cocaine was one used as a local anesthetic and numbing agent for dental surgeries. Today the drug us abused in two forms; both powder cocaine as well as crack cocaine. Someone using cocaine will have increased energy, insomnia, paranoia, mood swings and nervousness. The high from the drug lasts a few hours. The initial ‘rush’ felt after using lasts just a few minutes.
Hallucinogens include drugs like LSD as well as psychedelic mushrooms. They cause hallucinations, paranoia and delusions, insomnia and mood swings. Someone taking hallucinogens can exhibit unpredictable behavior.
Some indications that someone is high on a hallucinogen are:
- Enlarged pupils (dilated)
- Clammy hands
- Fear of others
Reports from United States Consumer Product Safety Commission indicate that inhalant abuse is one of the most damaging drugs affecting young people. More than 1000 different inhalants are abused and one in 5 teens have used these drugs. Users sniff inhalants from coolant, household chemicals, whipped cream cans, cooking sprays and deodorants and they get a rapid high that last 15 to 45 minutes after use.
Heroin is a highly addictive and abused drug and is the “fast-acting” opiate drug.  The drug is synthesized primarily in Asia in the country of Afghanistan. Most heroin users will snort or inject the drug. Heroin can also be smoked. Some of the signs that someone is using heroin are:
- Constricted pupils
- Nodding out (going through periods of sleep and wakefulness)
- Itching of the skin
- Clammy hands
Heroin carries with it it’s own side effects and withdrawal symptoms. It is one of the most difficult drugs to stop using without treatment.
Recent Drug Trends
The National Institute on Drug Abuse recently conducted a study across major metropolitan areas in the United States to determine emerging trends and patterns in drug use. Parents and teens alike should be aware of these substances and their code names lest they might suspect that someone close to them is on one of them or is attempting to acquire them. New drugs are coming out all the time, so it takes constant vigilance to understand what’s out there and who is going to try to sell if to your kids.
“Syrup,” “Purple Drank,” “Sizzurp,” “Lean”
Mixing prescription cough syrup containing codeine, a derivative of morphine, and promethazine, a synthetic antihistamine used to treat allergy symptoms, with soda pop produces “syrup”—a drink concoction popularized in the 90’s by rap artists and just finding its way into the favor of the mainstream youth now. The key ingredients in it are cheap and relatively easy to obtain, assuming you have access to the prescription cough syrup. The sugar-heaviness of the syrup tends to appeal to teens, who commonly refer to it as “lean.”
“Lean” is made up of promethazine/codeine cough syrup, Sprite (or some other form of sugary punch or cocktail), and Jolly Ranchers or Skittles for flavoring.
The psychological side effects “lean” has on an individual are not few in number: profound disorientation, depression, a feeling of self-deterioration, and a feeling of “unreality” or disconnection that can last for days. Excessive usage may produce chronic depression, brain damage, and possibly even psychotic breaks. Several notable rappers have died due to usage of “lean”, and it is now reported that deaths from prescription opioids outnumber overdose deaths from all other drugs, including heroin and cocaine.
Molly Ecstasy Drug
“Molly”—slang for “molecular”—refers to the pure crystalline form of MDMA, which, in pill form, is known as ecstasy. “Molly”, generally sold in the form of capsules, has been popularized in modern music and thus has become a solid drug staple for concertgoers and festival attendees. Odds are if you attend one of these festivals that appeal to a younger crowd, you will have at least one person come up to you and ask if you want to “pop a molly.”
Similar to ecstasy, “molly” use tends to invoke high-energy and euphoria. But, use of the drug may also dangerously affect body temperature and cause depression, confusion, and sleep problems. There is an additional risk that comes with the purchase and use of “molly” which is almost equally as harmful as the aforementioned side effects. People who choose “molly” over ecstasy may be doing so to avoid the fillers and substitutes that are commonly found in purchased ecstasy.
However, studies of hundreds of “molly” capsules in two crime labs in south Florida revealed many contained cheap adulterators such as methylone, a dangerous stimulant commonly found in “bath salts”, which is the street name for a brand of cheap drugs designed to imitate the sensations of cocaine or amphetamine. Also discovered in some of the “molly” capsules were cocaine, heroin, and other substances.
These findings are simply more evidence that parents and their families should stay away from these drugs, and all drugs completely.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse Nationwide Trends: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/nationwide-trends
 HelpGuide.org Antidepressants (Depression Medication): http://www.helpguide.org/mental/medications_depression.htm
 Consumer Product Safety Commission – A Parent’s Guide to Inhalant Abuse: https://www.cpsc.gov/en/safety-education/safety-guides/containers–packaging/a-parents-guide-to-preventing-inhalant-abuse-text-version/
 DEA Drug Factsheet – Heroin: http://www.justice.gov/dea/pr/multimedia-library/publications/drug_of_abuse.pdf#page=36