Illegal drugs are those that are not prescribed by a doctor or bought at a drugstore. They are sometimes also called "street drugs."
Some examples of illegal drugs include heroin (a narcotic); cocaine (a stimulant); LSD, mescaline, PCP, methamphetamine, and psilocybin (hallucinogens); marijuana and hashish (cannabis); and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB).
The effects of illegal drugs can be unpredictable because:
- Most drugs are very addictive.
- People respond differently to the same drugs.
- The strength or potency of the drug may be uncertain.
- They may contain unknown or unexpected substances. There is no quality control for street drugs like that required for prescription drugs.
- They may interact with other drugs or alcohol in unpredictable ways.
Current as of: February 20, 2015
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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Is it an emergency?
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.