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Commonly Misused Drugs

The following table shows information and links to learn more about commonly misused drugs. For additional information on drugs or substances not listed below, see the National Institute on Drug Abuse section on "Drugs of Abuse." Additional information is also available on​.  

For information on synthetic cannabinoids ("spice") and synthetic cathinones ("bath salts"), see the Navy Drug Detection and Deterrence's Synthetic Drugs​ page.


Drug Type​
Amphetamine and Methamphetamine​
Amphetamine and methamphetamine are chemically similar stimulant drugs. Certain types of amphetamine are used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
Amphetamine                    Methamphetamine
Cocaine is an addictive stimulant made from the leaves of the South American coca plant. Cocaine may be used legally in healthcare settings by medical care providers as anesthesia, but its recreational use is illegal.
MDMA - Ecstasy, Molly
MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine​) is a synthetic or "designer" drug that is chemically similar to stimulant drugs (such as amphetamines/methamphetamines) and hallucinogens (drugs that alter perception of surroundings). The terms used to describe MDMA can vary. 
Heroin is an opioid made from morphine which is taken from the seed pod of opium poppy plants native to parts of Asia and Latin America. Heroin can come in a powder form or a black sticky substance known as "black tar heroin."
Codeine, Morphine, Hydrocodone/Hydromorphone, and Oxycodone​/Oxymorphone
Codeine, Morphine, Hydrocodone/Hydromorphone, and Oxycodone​/Oxymorphone are classified as prescription opioids, which are either made directly from the opium poppy plant or chemically created. These drugs are used to treat moderate to severe pain or couging and diarrhea, and they can become addictive.  
Prescription Opioids
Marijuana comes from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plants, which contain the chemical THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S.
Marijuana                    Marijuana Awareness Guide *updated 2019*
Learn more about the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) from our fact sheet
Benzodiazepines are prescription sedatives usually prescribed for anxiety or insomnia. In recent years, prescriptions for benzodiazepines have increased significantly. Combining these types of drugs with opioids can be unsafe and cause fatal overdose.
Hallucinogens are a classification of drugs that alter the user's p​er​ception. Hallucinogens can come from natural sources such as plants and mushrooms or they can be made by humans. Some common hallucinogens include salvia divinorum, LSD and PCP.
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