drug addiction and drug abuse: Illegal Substances

Illegal Substances

Prescription drugs are considered illegal when diverted from proper use, and such use is more common than than the use of all other illegal drugs except marijuana (which is now legal in roughly one fifth of the states). Some people shop until they find a doctor who freely writes prescriptions; supplies are sometimes stolen from laboratories, clinics, or hospitals. Morphine, a strictly controlled opiate, and synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, have typically been most often abused by people in the medical professions, who have easier access to these drugs, but semisynthetic opioids that are prescribed as painkillers, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, have been more widely abused. In the 2010s, however, illicit synthetic opioids, either mixed into heroin or produced as counterfeit pills, became an increasing problem outside the medical profession, leading to stricter regulation and, late in the decade, a shift toward abuse of methamphetamine and cocaine. Other illegal substances include cocaine and crack, marijuana and hashish, heroin, hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, PCP (phencycline or “angel dust”), “designer drugs” such as MDMA (Ecstasy) and acetyl fentanyl (added by drug dealers to heroin), and “party drugs” such as GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate).

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