Other Types of Drugs
While the vast majority of students who choose to use substances of any kind, use alcohol alone (Stanford Survey Data, 2019), it is important to be aware of other types of drugs, their effects, their risks, and the current landscape of drugs that cannot be obtained through licenced pharmacies (illicit drugs).
Each drug category below has different properties and therefore there are varying levels of risks associated with each of them. However, any drug that has been obtained from the illicit market, shares a collective risk of being laced with potent, synthetic opioids (e.g. fentanyl) that cause fatal overdoses.
In 2011 the CDC declared an opioid epidemic in relation to dramatic increases in the misuse of prescription opioids. Since then, the illicit drug market has also changed drastically with alarming rates of counterfeit prescription opioid pills laced with more potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Explore other types of drugs below.
Cannabis (marijuana , pot, etc.) is the most widely used illegal substance in the world today. It's also the most controversial. According to the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 96.8 million (40.2%) Americans ages 12 and older have tried marijuana at least once during their lifetimes. About 25.5 million (10.6%) people reported past year marijuana use, and 14.6 million (6.1%) people reported past month use.
Stimulants are a class of drug also commonly known as "uppers". They stimulate the nervous system. Common stimulants include caffeine, a widely used drug largely known to keep people alert and awake. Stimulants also include some prescription drugs that treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which affect attention span, impulse control, self-discipline, and hyperactivity in the case of ADHD.
Hallucinogens & Psychedelics
Hallucinogens are a large class of psychoactive drugs that can produce altered states of consciousness characterized by major alterations in thought, mood, and perception, among other changes. Most hallucinogens can be categorized as psychedelics, dissociatives, or deliriants. Psychedelics are a class of hallucinogenic drugs whose primary effect is to trigger non-ordinary states of consciousness (known as psychedelic experiences or "trips"). This causes specific psychological, visual, and auditory changes, and often a substantially altered state of consciousness. The "classical" psychedelics, the psychedelics with the largest scientific and cultural influence, are mescaline, LSD, psilocybin, and DMT
Benzodiazepines (BZD, BDZ, BZs), sometimes called "benzos", are a class of psychoactive drugs whose core chemical structure is the fusion of a benzene ring and a diazepine ring. As depressants—drugs which lower brain activity—they are prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. The first benzodiazepine, chlordiazepoxide (Librium), was discovered accidentally by Leo Sternbach in 1955 and was made available in 1960 by Hoffmann–La Roche, which soon followed with diazepam (Valium) in 1963. By 1977, benzodiazepines were the most prescribed medications globally; the introduction of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), among other factors, decreased rates of prescription, but they remain frequently used worldwide.
Hookah, often promoted as being safer than cigarette smoking, has no scientific evidence to support this claim.
Prescription Opioid Drugs
Prescription opioid drugs have contributed to advances in the treatment of acute pain when used appropriately. However, opioid prescription drugs can pose serious risks and side effects including increased risks of opioid use disorder, overdoses, and death.
Predatory, Club and Party Drugs
Sometimes drugs are misused as predatory drugs to facilitate sexual assault. It should be noted that alcohol is the most commonly used drug by predators to incapacitate victims and facilitate sexual violence. However, Rohypnol, GHB, and Ketamine are powerful drugs that are sometimes added to alcohol to render individuals incapicitated with a single drink.
Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids are manufactured substances related to the male sex hormone Testosterone. They may be prescribed by a doctor to rebuild tissues weakened by injury or disease, to assist in regaining or maintaining weight after illness, and to aid recovery from breast cancer and osteoporosis in women. Steroids are abused in an attempt to enhance athletic performance and improve physical appearance and can be taken in pill form, injected, or rubbed on the skin in the form of gels or creams.
Tobacco/Nicotine and E-Cigarettes/Vaping
Nicotine is a naturally produced alkaloid in the nightshade family of plants (most predominantly in tobacco and Duboisia hopwoodii) and is widely used recreationallyas a stimulant and anxiolytic. Tobacco is the common name of several plants in the genus Nicotiana of the family Solanaceae, and the general term for any product prepared from the cured leaves of these plants. When using an e-cigarette, it is often called "vaping."
Are you looking for further harm reduction resources? Santa Clara County offers harm reduction supplies (e.g. Naloxone, Fentanyl Testing Strips, condoms and supplies for safer sex, syringe access and disposal, etc.) and training at many locations throughout the county. Explore their website for more details.