Drugs Index

Popular names:
‘N-Bomb’
What is it?

N-bome is a research chemical that changes the senses and alters thoughts. Often sold as LSD, but is much stronger (potent).

 

Please refer to Research chemicals section for more information.

 

Sought after effects:

Effects are similar to LSD

  • Senses become distorted (hallucinogenic)
  • Changes to time, space and meaning
Undesired effects:
  • Distortions can be frightening – ‘bad trip’
  • Can negatively affect people who have mental health problems
What does it look like?

It usually comes in the form of tabs/blotters

How is it taken?

Swallowed: tabs are swallowed (ingested)

Popular names:
‘Nexus’, ‘Bees’, ‘Venus’
What is it?

2C-B is a psychedelic drug that changes the way the brain sees things and alters thoughts. The 2C family also includes: 2C-I, 2C-D, 2C-E

 

Sought after effects:

Effects are similar to, but less intense than, LSD and mushrooms

  • Senses become distorted – e.g. you may taste things that you can see…
  • Changes to time, space and meaning
Undesired effects:
  • Unwanted visions and distorted thoughts can be frightening – ‘bad trip’
  • Can negatively affect people who have mental health problems
What does it look like?

It is found as white powder or tablets/capsules.

How is it taken?

Swallowed: tablets/capsules are swallowed (ingested)

Snorted: usually divided into lines and snorted (insufflated) via rolled up paper or ‘bumped’/’keyed’ i.e. small amount sniffed.

Popular names:
5-MeO-AMT, 5-MeO-DALT, 5-MeO-DET, 5-MeO-DMT, 5-MeO-DIPT, 5-MeO-MIPT and others
What is it?

These are a group of chemicals that share a common root structure (5-methoxytryptamine) and have many similarities in effects. There are many other variants of the 5-MeO type and new ones may yet be discovered, but most of them are extremely rare and it is difficult to say how frequently they may be encountered by ordinary consumers. The ones listed here are the most common, but they too are still relatively rare.

 

NOTE- a number of other substances (e.g. AMT, DMT) share letters with some in the 5-MeO group. Whilst there may be some similarities, they are different chemicals that will act very differently and should not be mistaken for one another.

Sought after effects:

5-MeO-AMT (‘Alpha’)

  • Increased energy
  • improved mood/sociability
  • increased creativity

 

5-MeO-DALT ('The Big and Dandy')

  • Psychedelic experiences

 

5-MeO-DET

  • Feelings of intoxication (drunkenness), light-headedness
  • Some experience heightened sexuality

 

5-MeO-DMT

  • Change of perspective
  • Spiritual feelings
  • Some experience euphoria

 

5-MeO-DIPT (‘Foxy’, Foxy Meth-Oxy)

  • Euphoria
  • Enhanced sensory perception (including touch)
  • Increased sexual feelings

 

5-MeO-MIPT

  • Euphoria
  • Enhanced sensory perception (including touch)
  • Emotional openness
Undesired effects:

5-MeO-AMT (‘Alpha’)

  • Headache/nausea
  • Fatigue
  • NOTE: a number of deaths have been associated with 5-MeO-AMT, possibly because people have confused it with AMT, which can be taken at higher doses

 

5-MeO-DALT

  • Very little is known about the effects of 5-MeO-DALT, so great caution should be taken

 

5-MeO-DET

  • Vertigo
  • Paranoia
  • Dizziness

 

5-MeO-DMT

  • Unpleasant (too intense) trips
  • Nausea
  • Breathing difficulties (when smoked)

 

5-MeO-DIPT (‘Foxy’)

  • Physical tension (muscles, jaw-clenching, etc.)
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)

 

5-MeO-MIPT

  • Muscle tension
  • Anxiety
  • Some experience stomach problems
What does it look like?

All are usually found as white/off-white/beige powder. Some are slightly more crystal in structure. 5-MeO-AMT may also be found in tablet or (rarely) in milky liquid form

How is it taken?

5-MeO-AMT- usually swallowed, sometimes snorted

 

5-MeO-DALT- swallowed, snorting may be possible

 

5-MeO-DET- swallowed, can be smoked (as a freebase)

 

5-MeO-DMT- usually smoked, can be snorted

 

5-MeO-DIPT- generally swallowed, sometimes snorted as a boost

 

5-MeO-MIPT- swallowed, smoking possible (as a freebase)

Popular names:
‘Benzo Fury’
What is it?

Benzo Fury is a man-made (synthetic) drug that is similar to amphetamine, in that it is thought to act as a stimulant by speeding up the body’s reactions and functions in many different ways. However, as Benzo fury is a fairly new research chemical, very little research has been done on how it works and its effects.

 

Please refer to our research chemicals page for more information.

 

The effects of this drug is from personal experiences only.

 

Sought after effects:
  • Similar to MDMA – sense of euphoria
  • increased wakefulness
  • feeling of empathy and closeness to others
Undesired effects:
  • nausea
  • confusion
  • increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • muscle/jaw tension
What does it look like?

White/brown powder or as capsules.

How is it taken?

Swallowed: capsules are swallowed (ingested)

Snorted: usually divided into lines and snorted (insufflated) via rolled up paper or ‘bumped’/’keyed’ i.e. small amount sniffed.

Popular names:
drink, booze, liquor, beverage, bevvy, plonk, vino
What is it?

Alcohol (chemical name ethanol) is usually found as a beverage and is a colourless liquid in its pure form.

It acts by slowing down the body’s reactions in many different ways.

There are three main forms of alcoholic drink, divided by strength:

  • Beers - up to 7-8% ABV (alcohol by volume)
  • Wines - up to 20% ABV
  • Spirits - up to 40% ABV (in the UK)

 ABV: Alcohol by volume (abbreviated as ABV, abv, or alc/vol) is a standard measure of how much alcohol (ethanol) is contained in an alcoholic beverage drink.

Sought after effects:
  • Relaxed feeling
  • Enables people to enjoy socialising
  • Release pent-up aggression
Undesired effects:
  • Weakens bodily control and co-ordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Decreased sexual performance

 

How is it taken?

It is usually drunk.

Popular names:
‘poppers’, ‘amyls’, ‘liquid gold’, ‘TNT’, ‘Rush’, ‘Raw’
What is it?

Amyl nitrite or ‘poppers’ are a liquid chemical that act by allowing more blood into the heart – giving the user a ‘rush’.

Sought after effects:
  • Short high/rush
  • Enhanced sexual experience
Undesired effects:
  • Headache
  • If poppers are stale, can make you feel sick/faint
  • Can negatively affect people with heart problems
What does it look like?

Poppers come in small bottles with screw or plug tops. The liquid is a yellow colour and they smell sickly sweet.

 

How is it taken?

Sniffed: poppers are sniffed (inhaled) from the bottle

Popular names:
Xanax (brand name)
What is it?

Alprazolam (often seen as under the trade name Xanax) is a sedative drug prescribed for the treatment of anxiety/stress/depression, panic attacks, and sleep disorders.

Sought after effects:

 

• Relaxation
• Sleepiness
• Occasional mild euphoria (happiness)

Undesired effects:

 

• Drowsiness
• Dizziness/loss of co-ordination
• Headaches
• Sometimes mild amnesia
 

What does it look like?

Small pills, usually oval though can be other shapes. They come at different strengths (0.25mg, 0.5mg and 1mg being the most common) and in a range of different colours (white, orange and pink most often) and the colour is usually linked to the strength of the pill. They are also found (rarely) in capsule form.
 

How is it taken?

Swallowed (pill or capsule)

Popular names:
‘speed’, ‘sulph’, ‘whizz’
What is it?

Amphetamines are a type of stimulant that help users stay awake, alert and focused.

Sought after effects:
  • Increased energy
  • Increased sex drive
  • Euphoria (intense happiness) at higher doses
Undesired effects:
  • Reduced appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Loss of co-ordination (at higher doses)
What does it look like?

Powder, pills or paste- white, off-white, grey or brown

How is it taken?

Swallowed, snorted, smoked or injected.

Popular names:
‘benzos’ ‘Temazepam’ (‘jellies’), ‘Diazepam’ (‘Valium’), ‘Flunitrazepam’ (‘Rohypnol’, ‘roofies’)
What is it?

Benzodiazepines are a group of man-made (synthetic) chemicals that slow down the body’s reactions. They are mostly prescription drugs, but also found on the black market.

Sought after effects:
  • Calm and relaxed
  • Induces long periods of sleep
Undesired effects:
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Reduced mental alertness
  • Anxiety
What does it look like?

While benzos usually come in tablet or capsule form, there are various brands, sizes, shapes and colours.

How is it taken?

Swallowed: usually taken orally, although some people do inject.

BZP
Popular names:
'A2', 'Frenzy', 'Nemesis'
What is it?

BZP is a piperazine stimulant that acts similarly to ecstasy. Part of the 'party pills' market that emerged in Europe around 2006, it is taken on its own or commonly in combination with TFMPP, another piperazine-type drug.  

Sought after effects:

• similar to amphetamines
• wakefulness
• euphoria
 

Undesired effects:

• mild headaches
• extreme tiredness (fatigue) but inability to sleep (insomnia)
• feeling sick (nausea)
 

What does it look like?

White pills (occasionally various colours)

How is it taken?

Orally (swallowed)

Popular names:
‘puff’, ‘draw’, ‘weed’, ‘herb(s)’, ‘soap’, ‘chronic’, ‘skunk’, ‘grass’, ‘ganja’, ‘hash’, ‘dope’, ‘Bob Hope’…
What is it?

Cannabis is a natural drug (compared to a man-made synthetic one) that comes from the hemp plant. This plant grows in various parts of the world (including the UK) and can reach up to 15 feet in height. Cannabis is slightly different from other drugs, in that it doesn’t clearly fall into the simple drug categories such as: stimulant (speeds up body’s reactions), depressant (slows own body’s reactions) or hallucinogen (distorts senses). However, it probably falls more into the hallucinogen category rather than the others but, depending on the type, it can have effects that fall into the other categories.

 

It is a drug that has been used for centuries either for fun, in religious/spiritual ceremonies or as medicine.

 

It comes in three main forms:

-              Hash (cannabis resin)

-              Marijuana (herbal cannabis)

-              Cannabis oil

Sought after effects:
  • Mellow, calm feeling
  • Sense of well-being
  • Changes in senses, especially eating hash cakes
  • often thought of as an aphrodisiac
  • stimulates appetite
  • pain killer (analgesic)

 

Undesired effects:
  • increase in pulse rate
  • drop in blood pressure
  • sense of lethargy
  • concerns about the effect on the mental health of the young
  • can affect short term memory
  • can affect co-ordination

 

What does it look like?

Hash: dark brown, black, tar-like substance (resin)

Herbal: a mixture of leaf, seed and buds from the female cannabis plant. High quality contains just the buds (often grown indoors, known in the UK as ‘skunk’).

Oil: light brown, viscous (sticky) oil-like substance, similar to honey

How is it taken?

Smoked: rolled in ‘joints’, with or without tobacco (marijuana),

Inhaled: in 'pipes' or 'bongs'/ 'buckets', inhaled off 'hot knives' or through a vaporiser.

Swallowed: eaten (hashish); prepared as a 'butter', baked in foods such as cakes and mixed with drinks such as tea (‘cannabis tea’) or spirits (‘Green Dragon’) and drunk

Popular names:
‘coke’, ‘sniff’, ‘charlie’, ‘white’, 'snow', 'c'
What is it?

Cocaine is a drug that increases the body’s functions and reactions (stimulant). It comes from the coca plant, grown mainly in South America, and goes through a range of chemical reactions to produce cocaine.

Sought after effects:
  • sense of euphoria
  • increased wakefulness
  • increased confidence
Undesired effects:
  • anxiety
  • increased chance of stroke and heart attack
  • ‘comedown’ (usually depressed and tired feeling) as effects wear off
What does it look like?

Cocaine is a white powder, of pearly appearance in its purer forms.

How is it taken?

Snorted: usually divided into lines and snorted (insufflated) via rolled up paper or ‘bumped’/’keyed’ i.e. small amount sniffed

Swallowed: swallowed (ingested) by ‘bombing’. A ‘bomb’ is prepared by wrapping individual doses in cigarette paper.

Injected: can be dissolved in water and injected.

Smoked: Smoking in a joint?

 

Snorting or swallowing is the more gentle method of ingestion, and the onset of its effects more gradual. The onset of injected cocaine is very fast, taking only a few seconds to reach the brain, and is very intense.

Popular names:
'AC/DC', 'Coties', 'schoolboy', 'DFs'
What is it?

Codeine is an opiate, closely related to morphine, and comes from the opium poppy, but possesses around one fifth of the strength of morphine. It is still a very effective analgesic (pain killer). Most mild pain killers contain small quantities of codeine, e.g. co-codamol. However, the formulations are too weak to be used in the treatment of dependence, and because they contain other drugs such as paracetamol and aspirin, it may be harmful, if taken in sufficient quantity, to feel the opiate effect of codeine.

Sought after effects:
  • good for opiate detox/reduction
  • minor euphoric action
  • less stigmatised (compared to other opiates)
Undesired effects:
  • very constipating (could be considered positive if suffering from IBS-type symptoms)
  • minimum euphoria compared with other options
  • dose conversion is difficult
  • urine tests as morphine/heroin
What does it look like?

Its usual formulation is as codeine phosphate, but also as dihydrocodeine. These can come in tablet, modified release tablet, syrup/linctus and ampoule form. Tablets are usually small and white, but can appear in transparent capsule form. The liquid form appears as red/orange syrup-like substance (cough syrup).

How is it taken?

Drunk: the cough syrup form is usually drunk

Swallowed: tablet form is swallowed

Popular names:
Crack is also known as ‘rock’ or ‘white’ and when mixed with heroin is known as ‘snowballs’ or ‘speedballs’
What is it?

Crack cocaine use became popular in the 1970s. Crack cocaine is another form of cocaine that is considered ‘more addictive’ as its pleasurable effects are greater than cocaine. It also differs in terms of the way it’s taken (route of administration) and time it takes to act on body (onset of effects).

Sought after effects:

Same as cocaine, but more intense:

  • sense of euphoria
  • increased wakefulness
  • increased confidence
Undesired effects:
  • anxiety
  •  tooth-grinding
  • exhaustion
  • repetitive behaviour such as raking or skin-picking

 

What does it look like?

Crack is found as white or off-white, pearly or waxen lumps.

How is it taken?

Smoked: it is smoked (inhaled) through pipes, ran on foil or smoked in a joint

Injected: may also be injected if combined with a water and acidifier to make it water-soluble.

 

In either method, the drug reaches the brain very rapidly and produces an intense but short-lasting ‘rush’ followed by a 10 minute high.

Popular names:
'Vallies', 'V', 'Blues', 'Valley Girls'
What is it?

Diazepam (or Valium) is a popular benzodiazepine drug used mainly in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, and sometimes for alcohol and opiate withdrawal.

Sought after effects:

• Sedative
• Relaxant

 

Undesired effects:

• Headaches/dizziness
• Memory problems (particularly if sleep is interrupted)
• Tremors/shakiness

 

What does it look like?

Tablets:

Small, white or off-white tablets, usually 2mg when prescribed

Yellow or off-white tablets are usually 5mg

Blue tablets are usually 10mg

 

Oral solutions of 2mg/5ml or 5mg/5ml (with sugar free versions available) and injectable formulations of 5mg/mL exist

Rectal tubes also exist as 2mg/mL and 4mg/mL formulations

 

 

 

How is it taken?

Orally: swallowed as a tablet/capsule, drunk as an oral solution)

Snorted: The tablets are sometimes crushed and taken nasally 

Injected: injectable formulations as well as gelcaps are known to be used intravenously (injected into the limbs, groin or neck) or intramuscularly

Taken rectally: using rectal tubes

DMT
Popular names:
‘Dimi’; ‘Dimitri’; ‘Businessman’s Special’
What is it?

Dimethyltryptamine is a powerful psychoactive chemical in the tryptamine group. It produces strong psychedelic effects (e.g. visual hallucinations). A form of it extracted from certain plants has been used for centuries in traditional South American shamanistic rituals. (Ayahuasca,Yage,etc.) Very short duration of action, up to 5 minutes.

Sought after effects:
  • Visual perception (seeing bright colours, geometric shapes, ‘soft edge’ to objects)
  • Intense dreams
  • Change in self-perception and identity (disconnection from senses when sought).
Undesired effects:
  • Hallucinations can become frightening (overly intense)
  • Sense of disconnection from self
  • Effect/Comedown can be rapid and abrupt
What does it look like?

Usually found as a yellow, sometimes waxy, crystal-like substance, occasionally as a powder.

How is it taken?

Smoked: it can be inhaled through a pipe, and smoked in a joint. This is the preferred method and usually easier to do in the ‘freebase’ form.

Injected: it can be injected only if it is in the acidic salt (fumarate) form, the other form (‘freebase’) cannot be as it does not mix with water.

Snorted: the crystals can be crushed and snorted, similar to other white powders.

Ingested: in some cultures, the ‘ayahuasca’ beverage contains some DMT. However, when ingesting DMT, an appropriate enzyme inhibitor must be taken (i.e. MAOIs), otherwise the DMT will be inactive.

NB. The fumarate form is water soluble (mixes with water), more stable and less likely to degrade, but is slightly less potent than the ‘freebase’ form. Both forms can look similar in appearance, although the ‘freebase’ form may have a stronger crystal-like appearance.

Popular names:
Street names for pill form: ‘E’, ‘pills’, ‘XTC’, ‘doves’ and many others depending on the ‘brand’. Street names for powder form: ‘MD’, ‘mandy’, ‘molly’
What is it?

Ecstasy is the popular name for MDMA but informally ecstasy usually refers to the pill form and MDMA, usually a higher strength, refers to powder form. Ecstasy speeds up the body’s reactions and functions in many different ways.

 

Sought after effects:
  • sense of euphoria
  • feelings of empathy or emotional understanding in and between individuals
Undesired effects:
  • raised blood pressure
  • raised body temperature
  • ‘comedown’ (usually depressed and tired feeling) as effects wear off
What does it look like?

Pills are found in varying colours and designs and powder is usually sold as brown or off-white crystal-like powder in small paper packets called ‘wraps’. MDMA can also be found in capsule form, usually in high doses.

How is it taken?

Swallowed: Pills/capsules are typically swallowed (ingested).

Powder can also be swallowed by ‘bombing’. A ‘bomb’ is prepared by wrapping individual doses in cigarette paper.

Snorted: usually divided into lines and snorted (insufflated) via rolled up paper or ‘bumped’/’keyed’ i.e. small amount sniffed

Popular names:
'G', ‘Liquid ecstasy’, GBH’, ‘Fantasy’, ‘Midnight blue’, ‘Blue nitro’, ‘RenewTrient’, ‘Somatapro’, ‘Enliven’, ‘Serenity’ and others.
What is it?

GHB is a depressant substance; it slows down the body’s reactions and functions in many different ways.

Sought after effects:
  • mild euphoriant
  • relaxed feeling
Undesired effects:
  • loss of body control - effects similar to alcohol which can last for several hours

There is a strong sexual component associated with the drug’s action, which is related to it being used as a ‘date rape’ drug.

What does it look like?

GHB is a clear liquid, and usually sold in 30ml plastic containers.

How is it taken?

Swallowed: small capful provides an ‘average’ dose. It can take up to an hour for the effects to be fully felt.

 

GBL is converted to GHB in the body, appears in the same liquid form and produces equivalent effects to GHB.

 

Popular names:
‘Smack’, ‘skag’, ‘brown’, 'gear', 'H'
What is it?

Heroin is the popular name for diamorphine. It acts as a depressant, so it slows down functions and reactions in the body and is also a strong pain killer (analgesic). Discovered in 1874, it comes from the opium poppy.

Heroin can be a highly addictive drug, producing tolerance to its effects and deep physical dependence—without it the user becomes ill and unable to function normally. It should also be noted that the drug has especially effect at reducing psychological and emotional pain, and most addicts can be accurately described as people self-medicating against traumatic memories and intolerable feelings. The time taken to become addicted varies with the individual and context, as does the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Overdose can be fatal, of course, and most overdoses are due to profound depression of the respiratory system. After many years of abundant supply at user-end purity, in the UK heroin quality now varies significantly.

Sought after effects:
  • powerful euphoriant
  • relaxing effects
  • feelings of wellbeing and freedom from worry
Undesired effects:
  • Nausea
  • Loss of balance
  • Overdose can be fatal
What does it look like?

While pharmaceutical heroin is white, most of the heroin available in the UK is a brownish powder.

How is it taken?

Smoked: brown heroin is most suitable for smoking. Much illicit heroin is smoked on tin-foil (‘chasing the dragon’ or ‘booting’).

Injected: brown heroin can also be injected, but needs to be acidic to make it dissolve (vitamin C is often used).

Snorted: bigger lumps are crushed up and powder is divided into lines and snorted (insufflated) via rolled up paper or ‘bumped’/’keyed’ i.e. small amount sniffed.

Popular names:
‘Ket’, ‘K’, ‘Special K’
What is it?

Ketamine is a strong numbing drug (anaesthetic) with unusual effects on the body. It speeds up rather than slows down breathing. It was originally only used by local and farming vets as an anaesthetic for animals, including horses. Nowadays, it is used mainly as a recreational drug, but still also by farming vets.

Sought after effects:
  • sense of euphoria
  • pain relieving
  • a feeling that mind is separate from the body – described as a floating feeling
Undesired effects:
  • causes loss of coordination
  • numbness in limbs
  • higher doses can cause an ‘out-of-body’ experience – the ‘K hole’.
What does it look like?

The licit drug is sold as an injectable liquid, while the illicit product is more often a powder, a white crystalline substance reminiscent of cocaine.

How is it taken?

Swallowed: can be taken orally (often mixed in drinks)

Injected: can be injected into a muscle (liquid form)

Snorted: usually divided into lines and snorted (insufflated) via rolled up paper or ‘bumped’/’keyed’ i.e. small amount sniffed. When snorted the drug takes effect after about one minute and lasts for 20 to 40 minutes.

Popular names:
‘Qat’, ‘Qaat’, ‘Gaat’, ‘Miraa’
What is it?

The khat plant contains stimulant drugs (active ingredients are ‘cathinone’-type chemicals), which act in a similar to amphetamine. It is grown mainly in Northeastern Africa, e.g. Yemen.

Sought after effects:
  • euphoric high accompanied by a sensation down the spine and through the body.
  • talkative
Undesired effects:

It can cause excessive sleepiness and depression.

 

Excessive use is thought to have harmful effects on health but this has not been properly researched.

What does it look like?

Khat are usually green but other parts of the plant can be used and are various shades of red and purple as well.

In the UK, khat is usually sold in greengrocers or market stalls, Halal butchers, cheap shop fronts or domestic dwellings set up for this purpose. It is sold in bundles costing from £3 to £5.

How is it taken?

Chewed: The leaves of the khat plant are chewed or ‘stored’ in the cheeks where the drug is orally absorbed into the blood.

An ‘average’ user may chew one or two bundles per session. Khat use is a heavily social activity, with teas and resting cushions and disposal bowls typically provided.

Popular names:
'designer drugs', 'legal highs', 'novel psychoactive substances', 'NPS'
What is it?

These are chemicals that are used in scientific research but also have desirable effects. Usually sold online. Many new drugs are produced each week (280 in Europe last year - EMCDDA, 2013), but very little information on their effects is available.

What is it?

Lorazepam is a medicine used in the treatment of anxiety, epilepsy and convulsions (fits) as well as for sedation and as a premedication for people about to undergo minor surgical operations.

Sought after effects:
  • Relaxant
  • Sedative
  • Anti-convulsant (stops fits)
Undesired effects:
  • Confusion/balance problems/dizziness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Possible depression
What does it look like?

Small, usually round tablets, often colour-coded; 1mg- white, blue, green or violet/purple, 2.5mg- pink, yellow or orange; as a solution, a colourless liquid (oral- 2mg/ml, injectable- 4mg/ml).

How is it taken?

Orally (the tablets are swallowed); intravenously (injected as a solution); nasally (snorted when ground to a powder)

LSD
Popular names:
‘acid’, ‘tab’, ‘blotter’, ‘L’, ‘Sid’
What is it?

LSD is a powerful hallucinogenic drug, changing the way brain sees things.

 

Sought after effects:

Effects similar to mushrooms:

  • Senses become distorted.
  • Changes to time, space and meaning

 

Undesired effects:
  • Distortions can be frightening – ‘bad trip’
  • Can negatively affect people who have mental health problems
What does it look like?

Found as tablets or on blotting paper, which can come in all sorts of colours and designs.

How is it taken?

Swallowed: tabs are swallowed (ingested), though liquid LSD is also available.

It can last from 8 to 24 hours, though the latter is rare

What is it?

mCPP is a recreational drug that has effects similar to MDMA (Ecstasy). It is also often found in Ecstasy pills.

Sought after effects:
  • sense of euphoria
  • feelings of empathy
Undesired effects:
  • raised blood pressure
  • raised body temperature
  • ‘comedown’ (usually depressed and tired feeling) as effects wear off
What does it look like?

Small, white, usually round pills, or a white powder

How is it taken?

Orally (swallowed as pills or powder); can be snorted (as a powder)

MDA
Popular names:
"sassafras"; "sass"; "mandy"; "medusa"
What is it?

MDA is a man-made (synthetic) recreational drug noted for its stimulant and psychedelic properties that has been used since the 1960s as a clubbing and sex-enhancing substance, with some similarities to LSD and MDMA (ecstasy).

 

Sought after effects:
  • visual hallucinations
  • euphoria
  • heightened feelings of intimacy
Undesired effects:
  • anxiety/panicky
  • sweating

 

What does it look like?

White powder or pills of various colours

How is it taken?

Swallowed, or sometimes sniffed

Popular names:
‘Sparkle’, ‘Woof woof’
What is it?

This is a relatively new synthetic (man-made) drug. It is said to have similar effects to MDMA (ecstasy) but there is very little information on dose and adverse effects available. It was produced in the 1990s with the aim of creating a drug that was less toxic than other types in the same group (e.g. MDMA) to be used as an anti-depressant or appetite suppressant.

Sought after effects:

It is seen to produce effects that make people feel closer and loving to others (empathogenic) but very little research on its effects has been conducted on humans.

Undesired effects:

The negative effects may be similar to those of MDMA (Ecstasy) such as 'crashing' (feeling low after the peak) and bad 'comedowns' (similar to hangovers that can last several days) but very little is currently known.

What does it look like?

It is most commonly found as a powder.

How is it taken?

Snorted: usually divided into lines and snorted (insufflated) via rolled up paper or ‘bumped’/’keyed’ i.e. small amount sniffed

Swallowed: swallowed (ingested) by ‘bombing’. A ‘bomb’ is prepared by wrapping individual doses in cigarette paper.

 

Popular names:
‘drone,’ ‘miaow’, ‘bubbles’, meow meow', 'meph', 'bounce'
What is it?

Mephedrone is a stimulant, speeding up reactions and functions in the body in many different ways. It was actually first made in 1929, but was not well-known until it was re-discovered in 2003.

Sought after effects:

Effects have been noted as similar to cocaine and MDMA

  • feelings of happiness
  • wakefulness
  • sociable
Undesired effects:
  • ‘comedown’ (usually depressed and tired feeling) as effects wear off
  • anxiety

 

What does it look like?

Mephedrone is found as a white powder

How is it taken?

Snorted: usually divided into lines and snorted (insufflated) via rolled up paper or ‘bumped’/’keyed’ i.e. small amount sniffed.

Swallowed: Powder can also be swallowed by ‘bombing’. A ‘bomb’ is prepared by wrapping individual doses in cigarette paper.

Popular names:
‘juice’, ‘meth’, ‘green’
What is it?

Methadone is a man-made (synthetic) form of heroin. It is a strong painkiller often used in the treatment of heroin addiction.

Sought after effects:
  • long-lasting and smooth action
  •  prevents heroin withdrawal symptoms
Undesired effects:
  • none of the pleasurable effects attributed to recreational opiate use

 

It is an addictive drug in its own right, producing tolerance and its own withdrawal syndrome.

What does it look like?

It is available on the street, and usually comes in the form of a sticky green liquid; the liquid mixture is made in other colours however, and also in tablet form.

How is it taken?

Swallowed: both the liquid and tablet forms are made for swallowing (ingesting)

Injected: ampoules for injection are produced but are prescribed to relatively few heroin users.

Popular names:
‘meth’, ‘ice’, ‘crystal’, ‘crank’, ‘yaabaa’ (Thai for ‘crazy pills’) and ‘shabbu’
What is it?

Methamphetamine is powerful stimulant drug, related to amphetamine, i.e. it speeds up the body’s reactions and functions.

Sought after effects:
  • Euphoric,
  • Increased energy
  • talkativeness
  • heightened libido
Undesired effects:
  • Panicky
  • Obsessive
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sexually irresponsible
What does it look like?

Usually comes in the form of crystalline whitish powder, although colorant may be added and pills also appear.

How is it taken?

Smoked: heated on foil

Injected: when dissolved in water, it can be injected

Swallowed: can be swallowed (ingested) in pill form

Snorted: in its white crystalline form, it can be snorted (insufflated)

Smoking and injecting produce the intense rush characteristic of the drug.

Popular names:
“MXE”, ‘Mket’
What is it?

MXE is a man-made ‘designer drug’ known to have similarities in both chemistry and effect to ketamine.

Sought after effects:
  • distortion of senses
  • dissociative state (feeling of detachment from the body and the wider world)
Undesired effects:
  • blurred vision
  • sometimes nausea and headaches
  • may cause memory problems if used long-term
What does it look like?

White powder

How is it taken?

Swallowed or sniffed

Popular names:
'Explosion', 'bk-MDMA', 'Ease', 'M1', 'Neocor'
What is it?

Methylone is a drug that speeds the body’s responses (stimulant) and makes people feel closer to others (entactogen). It is similar to the effects of MDMA (Ecstasy). It became a controlled drug along with mephedrone in 2010.

Sought after effects:
  • euphoria
  • stimulation
  • feeling of 'one-ness'
  • empathy

 

Undesired effects:
  • muscle tension
  • nausea and vomiting
  • increased heart rate
  • dizziness and confusion
  • teeth-grinding (‘gurning’)
What does it look like?

Was first sold in liquid form under the branding name 'explosion', but can also be found in powder form.

How is it taken?

Drunk: the liquid form is taken orally

Snorted: the powder form is snorted or sniffed

Popular names:
'Morf', 'Morpho', 'M.S.', 'Miss Emma', 'Mister Blue', 'Monf'
What is it?

Morphine is an opiate that comes from the opium poppy, and is in fact the 'daddy' of the family of substances that come from this plant (others include codeine, papaverine, thebaine etc.)

Sought after effects:
  • very effective painkiller (often the only effective pain relief for chronic pain syndromes)
  • wide range of formulations available
Undesired effects:
  • large dose usually required
  • short-acting
  • very 'prickly' when injected
  • dose increases usually required (variable 'ceiling' dose)
  • doctors often reluctant to prescribe
What does it look like?

Either blue or white tablets, capsules or ampoules.

How is it taken?

Swallowed: tablet and capsule form are swallowed (ingested)

Injected: ampoule form is injected

Popular names:
‘magic mushrooms’, ‘shroomz’
What is it?

Magic mushrooms is the popular term for mushrooms or toadstools that contain active drugs. There are several different species of mushrooms, the ones that people use for their positive effects are the hallucinogenic types contain psilocybin. These change the body’s functions and reaction and the way the brain sees things.

Sought after effects:

Effects similar to LSD:

  • Senses become distorted.
  • Changes to time, space and meaning – ‘trips’ can be ecstatic experiences

 

Undesired effects:
  • Distortions or ‘trips’ can be also be frightening like paranoid nightmares – ‘bad trip’
  • Can negatively affect people who have mental health problems
What does it look like?

Mushrooms grown in the UK are small cream to brown coloured with a nipple at the peak of the cap.

How is it taken?

Swallowed: certain mushroom types can be eaten raw (such as Liberty Caps).

They also can be dried out and stored. When dried, they can be smoked in a joint or a pipe. They are often drunk by brewing them in a cup of tea.

Popular names:
'Narcan', 'Nalone'
What is it?

Naloxone is a drug that reverses the effects of opioids among dependent individuals.

Sought after effects:

Only effective emergency treatment for opioid overdose

What does it look like?

Colourless liquid, usually in a vial or within an auto-injector

How is it taken?

Injected: Naloxone may be given by injection into a vein, muscle or under the skin, or via a drip into a vein (intravenous infusion).

What is it?

Naltrexone reverses the effects of opioids and is used as a relapse prevention tool. It is not a maintenance treatment and should not be mistaken for one.

Sought after effects:
  • least painful detox yet
  • symptoms abate very quickly
Undesired effects:
  • cost
  • NHS licensing in most cases when medicated
What does it look like?

The tablet is Naltrexone hydrochloride, Nalorex 50mgs peach, film coated.

How is it taken?

Tablets are swallowed.

 

 

What is it?

‘NRG’ is a term used to describe a number of substances (the most common being NRG-1 and NRG-3) which are mostly derivatives of naphyrone (or naphthylpyrovalerone), a man-made ‘designer drug’ with stimulant properties. However, it is important to note that many drugs sold as ‘NRG’ have been found to contain a wide range of chemicals and may have no relation to naphyrone at all.

 

Any information on effects are anecdotal.

Sought after effects:
  • excitable
  • wakefulness
  • increased awareness of surroundings
Undesired effects:
  • unable to sleep (insomnia)
  • lack of appetite and concentration
  • memory problems with frequent use
What does it look like?

White/off-white powder

How is it taken?

Usually sniffed

Popular names:
‘Big O’, ‘Chinese molasses’
What is it?

Opium is the sticky gum that oozes from the capsule of the opium poppy, from which heroin and other opiates are made from. The most powerful active ingredient in opium is morphine, which is a depressant, i.e. it slows down the body’s reactions and functions in many different ways. Opium is not as strong as morphine or heroin.

 

It has been used as medicine for over 3,000 years and still the main source of pain killing drugs today.

Sought after effects:
  • Calm
  • drowsy
  • dreamy state of mind
Undesired effects:

In large doses:

  • headaches
  • constipation
  • nausea
What does it look like?

Opium is not widely available in the recreational drug cultures of the UK.

It usually comes from Afghanistan or one of the surrounding countries, and is most likely to be brought in by individuals and in small quantities.

How is it taken?

Smoked: through a vaporiser for the most optimum effects.

Popular names:
‘Kronic’, ‘Bonsai’, ‘Bonsai SuperSleep’ (not to be mistaken with Chronic-high grade marijuana)
What is it?

Phenazepam is a benzodiazepine drug but was marketed for a long time as a legal high due to its uncontrolled status in most countries. It was developed in 1974 in Russia to treat neurological disorders such as epilepsy and insomnia. However, it is now predominantly used recreationally. It is around 20 times stronger than valium.

Please refer to ‘benzodiazepines’ section for more information on the more traditional, prescribed benzodiazepines.

After much deliberation, Phenazepam was officially controlled in June 2012 as a class C drug.

Sought after effects:

At low doses:

  • Relaxing
  • Helps with sleep
Undesired effects:

At higher doses:

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of memory (can be very profound at high doses)
  • Loss of coordination
What does it look like?

It can be found in (white) powder form or, rarely in 1mg/ml dropper bottles.

How is it taken?

Snorted: it is most commonly snorted or ‘bombed’. A ‘bomb’ is prepared by wrapping individual doses in cigarette paper.

Popular names:
‘BZP’, ‘party pills’, ‘PEP’, ‘legal x’, ‘Nemesis’, 'TFMPP'
What is it?

Piperazines are a group of chemicals that include BZP, TFMPP and mCPP. These were part of the popular 'party pills' market that emerged around 2006.

Sought after effects:

BZP: similar to amphetamines

  • wakefulness
  • euphoria

TFMPP:

  • mildly hallucinogenic – i.e. changes the way your brain sees things (when used alone at higher doses)
  • in combination with BZP, similar to MDMA (ecstasy)
Undesired effects:

BZP:

  • mild headaches
  • extreme tiredness (fatigue) but inability to sleep (insomnia)
  • feeling sick (nausea)

TFMPP:

  • migraines
  • muscle pain
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • insomnia
What does it look like?

BZP and TFMPP- white pills (occasionally various colours)

How is it taken?

Swallowed

Popular names:
‘red mitsubishi’ ‘killer’ ‘death’, 'pink ecstasy'
What is it?

PMA/PMMA looks like, and is sold as ecstasy, but is more toxic, and in some cases fatal.

Sought after effects:

Effects are similar to those experienced with other stimulants including ecstasy and other amphetamines:

  • increase in energy
  • minor visuals
Undesired effects:

Symptoms with a higher dose include:

  • hallucinations
  • convulsions
  • respiratory distress
What does it look like?

It is usually found in pill form, a white-ish colour, but can also be pink or yellow.

Several PMA pills have been found to have a Mitsubishi stamp imprinted on them.

How is it taken?

Swallowed: pills are swallowed (ingested)

Popular names:
‘Roofies’, ‘R2’, ‘Roofinol’, ‘Rope’, ‘Rophies’, ‘Forget-me pill’
What is it?

Rohypnol is the common and brand name for Flunitrazepam, a benzodiazepine sometimes used in the treatment of sleep disorders. 

Sought after effects:
  • Relaxing, sleepy
  • Reduced anxiety
Undesired effects:
  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Deep and intense memory loss
  • Complete loss of movement and lack of coordination, potentially leaving users very vulnerable
What does it look like?

Usually come in tablet form. I mg in the UK being green, film coated marked ‘542’ oval and centrally scored (previously scored purple rhomboids). Non-water soluble. Some non-UK sources can be 2mg, white and medium-small, quartered and more soluble in water. This was the probably the derivation of the ‘date-rape’ reputation.

How is it taken?

Swallowed: tablets are swallowed, in ‘spiking’ they are crushed and added to drink, usually alcohol.

Popular names:
‘Ska pastora’
What is it?

Salvia is a naturally found drug from the Salvia plant (Salvia divinorum) that changes the body’s functions and reaction and the way the brain sees things (hallucinogenic).

Sought after effects:
  • Visions (hallucinations)
  • Giggling
  • Reminiscence (bringing back happy memories)
Undesired effects:

Sometimes scary distortions to senses

What does it look like?

It is normally found as green, dried, powdered leaf.

How is it taken?

Smoked (modern method)

Chewed (traditional)

Popular names:
‘laughing gas’, ‘volatile substances’, ‘whippets’, ‘tooting’, ‘petrol’, ‘huffing, ‘glues’, ‘glue sniffing’, ‘dusting’, ‘chroming’
What is it?

Solvents are gases, glues or aerosols that are inhaled. They vary from normal household products to petrol and laughing gas. They slow down the body’s responses (depressant).

Sought after effects:
  • Dreaminess
  • Relaxed
  • Fits of giggles (laughing gas)
Undesired effects:
  • Can experience vomiting and blackouts
  • Mood swings
  • Aggressive behaviour and hallucinations
  • Potential breathing problems with chronic use
  • Memory impairment
  • Solvents and glue often perceived as a ‘losers habit’ in many circles
What does it look like?

They vary greatly in appearance, most are normal household products that come in canister or bottles with a ‘volatile substance’ sign printed on it. They include the following; aerosols, hairspray, air fresheners, tins or tubes of glue, cleaning fluids, gas lighter refills, nail polish remover, surgical spirit, dry-cleaning fluid and thinners and correcting fluids. They can also include laughing gas which can be sold within balloons.

How is it taken?

Inhaled: they are taken into the lungs, either via putting liquid on a cloth and inhaling the fumes, spraying the gas or aerosol product directly down the throat or via crisp or plastic bags for glue or balloons (as is most common for laughing gas). 

Popular names:
‘roids’
What is it?

Steroids are a group of drugs similar to the male hormone, testosterone. It is usually associated with people who are interested in body building.

 

 

Sought after effects:
  • assists the male sexual function
  • enhances libido
  • increases production of red blood cells (good for building muscles)
Undesired effects:
  • high blood pressure
  • liver damage (especially tablet form)
  • can reduce testicle size
What does it look like?

Steroids are readily available in many gyms and are sold as tablets/capsules or ampoules.

How is it taken?

Swallowed: tablets/capsules are swallowed (ingested)

Injected: ampoules are injected into muscle

Popular names:
‘subbies’, ‘temmies’, ‘bupe’, 'suboxone'
What is it?

Subutex is the trade name for Buprenorphine, which is a man-made (synthetic) drug licensed for the treatment of opioid (heroin, morphine) addiction.

Sought after effects:
  • long-lasting
  • less drowsy than methadone
  • forces user into full withdrawal
Undesired effects:
  • none of the pleasurable effects attributed to recreational opiate use
  • cannot use heroin or other opiates on top
What does it look like?

It is found as small white or yellow tablets.

How is it taken?

Under-the-tongue: subutex tablets are designed to be taken/dissolved under the tongue (sub-lingually)

Popular names:
‘Spice’, ‘Black Mamba’, ‘Annihilation’, ‘Blue Cheese’, ‘Devil’s Weed’, ‘Clockwork Orange’
What is it?

These are man-made (synthetic) chemicals that aim to copy the effects of the main active ingredient of cannabis, THC. These chemicals are usually sprayed on to plant material or natural herbs (which do not normally contain any tobacco or cannabis).

Some of these substances are now controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act, but most are still not covered by this legislation. Ones that are not controlled are subject to the Medicines Act, so labels will often say ‘not for human consumption’.

See ‘Research Chemicals’ section for more details.

Sometimes the effects are stronger than typical cannabis. Also, as these are new chemicals, there may some compounds where no information of its effects, including adverse effects, exists. The detectability of the compounds in standard drug tests is a subject of conjecture. New tests are being developed that will detect most synthetic cannabinoids.

Sought after effects:
  • Happy and relaxed (in moderate doses)
  • Synesthetic (one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another sense) effects
Undesired effects:
  • Drowsiness
  • Problems with co-ordination
  • Paranoia and forgetfulness is possible but not known whether it exists for all these chemicals
  • Dose/potency concerns
What does it look like?

In its pure form, it comes as a solid or oil but before it is sold it is added to herbs or natural material, and packaged in colourful sachets. The herbal material aims to resemble herbal cannabis.

How is it taken?

Smoked: rolled in ‘joints’, with or without tobacco

Inhaled: in 'pipes' or 'bongs'/ 'buckets' or through a vaporiser.

What is it?

Temazepam is a popular benzodiazepine drug used mainly in the short-term treatment of sleeping disorders.
 

Sought after effects:
  • Sedative
  • Relaxant
Undesired effects:
  • Headaches/dizziness
  • Memory problems (particularly if sleep is interrupted)
  • Tremors/shakiness
What does it look like?

Small, white or off-white tablets, usually 10mg or 20mg when prescribed, although larger sizes found at street level; various coloured capsules (green being the most common), 7.5mg - 30mg+; ‘Restoril’ are colour-coded: 7.5mg- blue and pink, 15mg- red and pink, 22.5mg- blue and 30mg- red and blue; also available as an oral solution, typically 10mg/5ml

How is it taken?

Orally (swallowed as a tablet/capsule, drunk as an oral solution)
The tablets are sometimes crushed and taken nasally (snorted) and the gelcaps are known to have been used intravenously (injected into the limbs, groin or neck)

What is it?

TFMPP is a man-made (synthetic) drug that is often taken with BZP. Together these drugs produce similar effects to MDMA.

Sought after effects:
  • mildly hallucinogenic – i.e. changes the way your brain sees things (when used alone at higher doses)
  • in combination with BZP, similar to MDMA (ecstasy)
Undesired effects:
  • migraines
  • muscle pain
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • insomnia
What does it look like?

White pills (occasionally various colours)

How is it taken?

Orally (swallowed)

Popular names:
‘Cigs’, ‘Blem’, ‘Fags’, ‘Cancer sticks’, ‘Smokes’, ‘Straights’
What is it?

Tobacco is the ingredient that is present in a number of different products including smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes, hookah/shisha pipes etc. The most common being the smoking cigarette. This is also the most addictive way to ingest tobacco.

 

The sought-after effects of tobacco are produced by nicotine, but the production of cigarettes (particularly hand rolled ones) means that other potentially toxic chemicals are also present.

Sought after effects:
  • Satisfies cravings
  • Can give a sense of stress relief
  • oral comfort
Undesired effects:

With long term use, there is potential for:

  • Addiction
  • Cancer
  • Emphysema
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease

With short term use

  • coughing/wheezing due to extra accumulation of phlegm
  • unpleasant odour
What does it look like?

Green leaves of the tobacco plant are dried and rubbed which produces a brown mixture. This mixture is rolled to create ready-made cigarettes or manually rolled by the user to create hand-rolled cigarettes. To crave the addiction to nicotine, there are a number of products that appear in the form of patches, chewing gum and mouth sprays, among others.  

How is it taken?

Tobacco is usually smoked or the leaves are chewed and ingested.

Popular names:
‘Handle bars’, ‘Bars’, ‘Zanies’
What is it?

Xanax (a trade name for the drug Alprazolam) is a sedative drug prescribed for the treatment of anxiety/stress/depression, panic attacks, and sleep disorders.

Sought after effects:

• Relaxation
• Sleepiness
• Occasional mild euphoria (happiness)

Undesired effects:

• Drowsiness
• Dizziness/loss of co-ordination
• Headaches
• Sometimes mild amnesia

What does it look like?

Small pills, usually oval though can be other shapes. They come at different strengths (0.25mg, 0.5mg and 1mg being the most common) and in a range of different colours (white, orange and pink most often) and the colour is usually linked to the strength of the pill. They are also found (rarely) in capsule form.

How is it taken?

Swallowed (pill or capsule)

What is it?

The ‘Z-drugs’ are a group of non-benzodiazepine drugs with effects similar to benzodiazepines which were designed to be used in the treatment of insomnia.

Sought after effects:

• Sleep-inducing
• Relaxant
• skeletal muscle relaxation

Undesired effects:

• amnesia
• depression
• cognitive impairment (confusion)

What does it look like?

Zopiclone are typically 3.75mg or 7.5mg (white) oval, scored tablets. They come in other colours (3.75mg are usually orange or blue) but have the dose marked on them.
Zolpidem are 5mg or 10mg white oval tablets.
Zaleplon are usually found as capsules of 5mg (white/orange) and 10mg (white).

How is it taken?

These are taken orally (swallowed)