Stimulant Drugs List

As the name suggests, stimulants increase alertness, attention, and energy, as well as elevate blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration” (NIDA). Certain stimulants can be used to treat medical conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy while others are illegal to use because of their extremely dangerous effects. All stimulants can be abused and cause addiction if they are taken this way for an extended period of time. Below is a list of some of the most commonly used and abused stimulant drugs.

Illicit Stimulants

According to the DEA, “Stimulants are diverted from legitimate channels and clandestinely manufactured exclusively for the illicit market.” Illicit stimulants are extremely dangerous and are not approved for any medical use.

cocaine stimulant

Cocaine is a popular illicit stimulant.

  • Cocaine
    • Street Names: “coke, snow, snow white, rock, powder, blow” (CESAR)
    • Methods of Use: snorted, rubbed on the gums, ingested, injected, or sprinkled on cigarettes
    • Effects: euphoria, increased energy, insomnia, paranoia, headaches, seizures, heart problems, stroke, sexual dysfunction, stimulant-induced psychosis, addiction
  • Crack Cocaine
    • Street Names: base, freebase, rock, kryptonite, crumbs, nuggets, hail
    • Methods of Use: “smoked through a glass hand pipe or water pipe” (CESAR)
    • Effects: similar to those of cocaine, although a person can become addicted to crack much more quickly because the effects reach the brain much faster when the drug is smoked
  • Methamphetamine
    • Street Names: crank, ice, meth, speed, crystal meth, glass, chalk
    • Methods of Use: ingested, injected, smoked, or snorted
    • Effects: euphoria, increased energy, insomnia, weight loss, sweating, vomiting, tremors, uncontrollable clenching of the jaw, seizures, anxiety, paranoia, brain damage, skin infection, cracked teeth, homicidal thoughts, stimulant-induced psychosis, addiction
  • MDMA
    • Street Names: ecstasy, X, molly, love drug, rolls
    • Methods of Use: ingested most often, although it is sometimes taken anally, smoked, or crushed in a napkin and swallowed “in an attempt to speed up the drug’s onset” (CESAR)
    • Effects: relaxation, euphoria, heightened senses, hallucinations, dehydration, blurred vision, paranoia, anxiety, insomnia, “possible depletion of serotonin and memory,” addiction

Prescription Stimulants

These drugs can be part of a treatment program for patients with hyperactivity disorders. However, they are often abused as well for the effects they cause.

  • Amphetamines (amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, and methamphetamine)
    • Street Names: bennies, black beauties, dexies, copilots, lid poppers, uppers, speed
    • Brand Names: Dexedrine, Adderall, DextroStat
    • Methods of Use: often taken orally in pill form or crushed to be snorted or injected
    • Effects: increased energy, intensified focus, euphoria, increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, insomnia, weight loss, “intense anger or paranoia,” problems breathing, mental illness, delusions of grandeur, ulcers, addiction (NIDA for Teens)
  • Methylphenidate
    • Street Names: vitamin R, skittles, smarties, west coast
    • Brand Names: Concerta, Ritalin
    • Methods of Use: similar to those of amphetamines
    • Effects: euphoria, increased energy, intensified focus, hostility, increased body temperature and heart rate, malnutrition and weight loss, paranoia, stroke, depression, sweating, changes in mood and mental state, heart problems and heart attack, addiction

The stimulant drugs listed above can be extremely dangerous when abused and may cause many of the same effects when taken in high doses. As stated by the DEA, “During heavy use, all other interests become secondary to recreating the initial euphoric rush.” Individuals who become addicted to stimulants will often need medical treatment as well as months of counseling and behavioral therapy to slowly minimize cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

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