Illegal Drugs

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 (an opioid); 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.
  • Even though they look like prescription drugs, they may be imitations that contain dangerous chemicals.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. 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.

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