Heroin is an opioid drug derived from morphine, a natural substance that comes from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin appears as a white or brown powder, or black sticky substance (“black tar heroin”), and can be either injected, snorted or smoked.
It is highly addictive and associated with a number of serious health problems, including fatal overdose. Research suggests that prescription opioid pain medications such as Oxycontin and Vicodin may lead to heroin abuse. Behavioral therapy and medications, such as buprenorphine and methadone, can be effective in helping individuals to stop using heroin.
For more information, please refer to the NIDA web site: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin
MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly)
MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), better known as ecstasy, is a synthetic drug that has stimulant and hallucinogenic properties. Users feel increased energy, emotional closeness and empathy for others, and sensory distortions due to how MDMA increases the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Recently, “Molly” has emerged as a supposedly more pure crystalline powder form of MDMA; however, the capsules sometimes include other drugs in addition to the MDMA. MDMA is often used in combination with alcohol or other drugs and may be putting the user at a much higher risk for adverse health consequences. The research is mixed on whether or not MDMA is addictive. However, some individuals report symptoms of dependence.
For more information, please refer to the NIDA web site: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/mdma-ecstasy-or-molly
Cocaine is an addictive stimulant drug derived from the leaves of the coca plant. It causes an increase in energy, euphoria, and raises blood pressure and heart rate. The powdered form can be snorted through the nose, while the rock crystal form, known as crack, can be smoked. The high achieved from using cocaine is relatively short, which can lead to repeated use to sustain the high. In addition to raising blood pressure and heart rate, using cocaine constricts blood vessels, causes headaches, decreases appetite, and can lead to irritability and anxiety.
Heart attacks and strokes are also possible, causing sudden death. Combining cocaine with other drugs—such as heroin—is dangerous and has a high risk of fatal overdose.
For more information, please refer to the NIDA web site: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine