The truth is drugs will always be a relevant concern. Whether legitimate or illegal, natural or synthetic, drugs are rampant in almost every conceivable environment. Of notable mention are SAMHSA’s Top Five drugs of abuse: Amphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates and Phencyclidine. Ongoing nationwide abuse of these substances fuel an epidemic of overdose fatalities. Surpluses of drug information and drug abuse statistics are gathered to familiarize people with the one of the most dangerous threats to the United States — drugs.

Amphetamines

Known under aliases like Chalk, Glass and Ice, Amphetamines are a Schedule II synthetic stimulant most commonly available in pill-form. People coping with Attention Deficit Disorder, Asthma and Obesity can benefit from controlled amphetamine use, as the drug increases attention span, alleviates respiratory symptoms and reduces appetite.

Adderall, Concerta and Ritalin are the most popular brands of pharmaceutical-issued amphetamines. Though usually taken orally, this drug can be illicitly administered via snorting, injecting and parachuting, i.e. wrapping the powdered substance in a paper-like satchel. While amphetamines are useful in specific clinical cases, non-medical use is prevalent among young people who wish to improve focus while studying, gain a sense of confidence, or commit to weight loss.

Short-term amphetamine  use induces euphoric, energetic sensations. However, even small doses can wreak havoc on the circulatory and central nervous systems. Prolonged administration may cause heart palpitations, depression and psychosis. Products like HairConfirm can detect traces of amphetamine at a minimum cut-off concentration of 500 pg/mg of hair supplied for testing.

Cocaine

Commonly referred to as Blow, Coke and Powder, Cocaine is a Schedule II intoxicant that is typically refined into a powdery, chalky substance resembling salt. This drug is extracted from naturally grown South American coca shrub leaves. Cocaine in 4% or 6% liquefied format is can be applied as an anaesthetic during surgical procedures.

Young people and the affluent comprise the majority of cocaine users, as the drug boosts energy and confidence during intoxication. If used illegally, cocaine is often snorted, but this drug can be melted down to be smoked or injected. Free-base cocaine is known as Crack. Either form can jeopardize one’s health.

Despite short-lived effects, cocaine is a highly addictive substance. Prolonged use of this Schedule II drug results in headaches, high risk of stroke and brain decay. Cocaine can also cause nasal cartilage degeneration when snorted. Products like HairConfirm can detect traces of cocaine at a minimum cut-off concentration of 500 pg/mg of hair supplied for testing.

Ecstasy

Nicknamed MDMA, Molly and E, Ecstasy is a synthetic drug that behaves like a stimulant-hallucinogen hybrid. Since ecstasy has no acceptable medical application, it falls under the Schedule I category of drugs. This drug is sought for illicit use only.

Derived from its synthetic cousin Methamphetamine, ecstasy is often adulterated, or “laced” with substances like Ephedrine or Cocaine. This white or tan powdered drug is distributed in capsule form. Ecstasy is popular throughout nightclubs, raves and schools because of short-term elevated heart rate, sexual euphoria and heightened empathy experienced when the drug is administered. Ecstasy’s prevalence has increased significantly in direct relation to pop culture references made by highly influential people through various forms of media.

Since ecstasy affects secretion of Serotonin, Dopamine and Norepinephrine hormones, prolonged abuse can lead to degenerative brain disorders, depression and psychosis. Products like HairConfirm can detect traces of ecstasy at a minimum cut-off concentration of 500 pg/mg of hair supplied for testing.

Marijuana

This is the drug of abuse that have thrown medical professionals, politicians and common folk into a frenzy. In place of Marijuana or Cannabis, drug street names like Mary Jane, Bud and Weed are used. Although marijuana is a federally non-permissible Schedule I drug, the number of users have skyrocketed in the last decade. This naturally occurring substance can act as a stimulant, depressant and hallucinogenic depending on each user’s experience.

Marijuana is administered in many forms. It is commonly smoked or vaporized, but the drug can be concentrated into edible marijuana oil. THC and CBD compounds within the plant are the sources of marijuana intoxication. Cannabis is sometimes recommended for pain management, but the drug is more commonly sought after for recreational purposes. As marijuana seamlessly trickles into educational settings, it is often regarded as a “gateway” drug.

Short-term side effects of marijuana use include relaxation, increased appetite and boosted creativity. While long-term marijuana use demands further observation, emerging studies report lowered IQ scores, decreased focus and poor memory. Symptoms vary widely depending on the type of marijuana cultivated and the user’s individual experience. Products like HairConfirm can detect traces of THC at a minimum cut-off concentration of 1 pg/mg of hair supplied for testing.

Methamphetamines

Referred to as Meth, Speed and Tweak, Methamphetamine is Schedule II drug of abuse that shares characteristics with amphetamines. Variations of this drug are clinically suitable for sufferers of Asthma, Obesity and neurological disorders.

Pharmaceutical methamphetamines are manufactured in pill format, but abusers of this drug may resort to “cooking” the drug themselves. Using Ephedrine or other cold medication as a base, “cooking” combine toxic household agents over heat until liquefied. The methamphetamine concoction is cooled and crystallized to be smoked or injected afterwards.

Short-term effects of using methamphetamine include heart palpitations, dilated pupils and increased attentiveness. More serious long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse include insomnia, anorexia and stroke. This drug should never be privately synthesized or taken without medical approval. Products like HairConfirm can detect traces of methamphetamine at a minimum cut-off concentration of 500 pg/mg of hair supplied for testing.

Opiates/Morpine

Called Dreamers, Drones, Goodfellas, etc., there are as many forms of Opiates as there are street names. Opiates fall under the Schedule II category of drugs, and are the cause of an overdose epidemic in the United States. Pain management is the only legitimate purpose for morphine and other opiate use, as these substances are highly addictive.

Opiates are usually condensed into pill form. Medical professionals strictly recommend oral ingestion of opiates; snorting or injecting the drugs are illicit behaviors. These drugs pose a threat to people of all ages, as they are easily accessed through family members and peers.

Short-term effects of opiate administration include mood swings, sleepiness and general itchiness. Depression, irritability, insomnia, loss of appetite and constipation are only a handful of the long-term side effects caused by prolonged use of these drugs. Products like HairConfirm can detect traces of opiates at minimum cut-off concentrations of 200 pg/mg of hair supplied for testing.

Opiates are responsible for many fatalities and overall devastation to the healthcare industry. Prescription drug monitoring programs can subdue the opiate epidemic by tracking prescriptions to ensure drugs are not illegally diverted from the assigned patient.

Phencyclidine

Dubbed Angel Dust, Sherm and PCP, Phencyclidine is a Schedule II psychotropic hallucinogen that causes vivid sights, sounds and distorted realities. Originally synthesized as a potent animal tranquilizer, PCP became a popular drug during the Hippie Movement.

Use of this drug has tapered, but phencyclidine remains a highly addictive substance popular throughout nightclubs and raves. This drug is water soluble, so it can be administered in any format. While it is most commonly abused via pill or capsule, phencyclidine can be sprayed onto other contraband substances.

Hallucinations, numbness and detachment are some short-term effects of phencyclidine abuse. Long-term symptoms of abuse include cognitive impairment, speech impediments and suicidal ideation. Products like HairConfirm can detect traces of phencyclidine at a minimum cut-off concentration of 300 pg/mg of hair supplied for testing.

Prescription Drugs of Abuse

As a result of increased manufacturing and negligent care, pharmaceuticals are among the most problematic drugs today. Prescription medication overdose deaths are fueling a nationwide epidemic. Collecting substance abuse statistics from reliable drug references can alleviate this issue. Some of the most commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals fall under the following three categories:

Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is a synthetic drug derived from codeine. This Schedule II Opiate must be used under medical supervision on an “as needed” basis due to high potential for addiction. Hydrocodone is used as an anaesthetic in many surgical situations.

Well-known branded versions of hydrocodone are Lorcet and Vicodin. These drugs are administered via pill for chronic pain sufferers. Since hydrocodone can sometimes be manufactured with traces of acetaminophen, the drug should never be taken alongside alcohol.

Short-term side effects of hydrocodone use include numbness, detachment and a general ease of pain symptoms, whereas long-term hydrocodone use may cause depression, insomnia and lack of appetite. Products like HairConfirm can detect traces of hydrocodone at a minimum cut-off concentration of 200 pg/mg of hair supplied for testing.

Oxycodone

Known under street names like Oxy, Roxy and Percs, Oxycodone is a Schedule II Opiate commonly prescribed after severe trauma or major surgery.

The most recognizable oxycodone brands are Percocet and Oxycontin, which are distributed in pill form. These drugs are supremely addictive, so they must be administered to patients with caution and vigilance.

Short-term side effects of oxycodone use include pain relief, drowsiness and constipation. Long-term symptoms of oxycodone use include liver damage and inflammatory bowel disease. Oxycodone is rarely prescribed for patients who have a history of organ damage. Products like HairConfirm can detect traces of oxycodone at a minimum cut-off concentration of 200 pg/mg of hair supplied for testing.

Hydromorphone

Drug street names like Dilly, Juice and Smack refer to Hydromorphone. Hydromorphone is a popular Schedule II analgesic used in pain management cases. This opiate is only suitable for short-term use after enduring trauma or surgery.

The most popular branded version of hydromorphone is Dilaudid, which is available in pill format. Dilaudid should never be used by patients who have a history of stomach or lung complications.

Short-term side effects of hydromorphone use include agitation, dizziness, and nausea, whereas long-term side effects consist of impaired urination, noisy breathing and unusual perception of color. Products like HairConfirm can detect traces of hydromorphone at a minimum cut-off concentration of 200 pg/mg of hair supplied for testing.

The good news is commonly abused drugs are never impervious to hair drug testing. Urine, saliva and hair drug tests can screen even marginal traces of a substance taken up to 90 days before analysis. Before finding help for someone with a drug addiction, it’s vital to obtain proof in the form of a drug test first. The next best tool for drug prevention is education. There’s no debate that drugs are abundant; thankfully, so are drug abuse facts and other resources. Discussing drug fact information and substance abuse statistics with others will slowly chisel away at the nation’s drug problem. When it comes to drug abuse knowledge, sharing is caring.