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Substance Information

Commonly Misused Drugs

The following table shows information and links to learn more about commonly misused drugs. For additional information on drugs or substances not listed below, see the National Institute on Drug Abuse section on "Research Topics" and scroll to "Research by Substance." Additional information is also available on  
Drug Type​ ​Information
Amphetamine and Methamphetamine Amphetamine and methamphetamine are chemically similar stimulant drugs. Certain types of amphetamine are used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

Amphetamine                    Methamphetamine
Cocaine Cocaine is an addictive stimulant made from the leaves of the South American coca plant. Cocaine may be used legally in healthcare settings by medical care providers as anesthesia, but its recreational use is illega

MDMA - Ecstasy, Molly MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine​) is a synthetic or "designer" drug that is chemically similar to stimulant drugs (such as amphetamines/methamphetamines) and hallucinogens (drugs that alter perception of surroundings). The terms used to describe MDMA can vary. 
Heroin Heroin is an opioid made from morphine which is taken from the seed pod of opium poppy plants native to parts of Asia and Latin America. Heroin can come in a powder form or a black sticky substance known as "black tar heroin."
Codeine, Morphine, Hydrocodone/Hydromorphone, and Oxycodone/Oxymorphone Codeine, Morphine, Hydrocodone/Hydromorphone, and Oxycodone​/Oxymorphone are classified as prescription opioids, which are either made directly from the opium poppy plant or chemically created. These drugs are used to treat moderate to severe pain or coughing and diarrhea, and they can become addictive.  
Prescription Opioids
Marijuana/Cannabis Marijuana comes from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plants, which contain the chemical THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S.
Marijuana                Marijuana Awareness Guide *updated 2019*
Learn more about the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) here.

Benzodiazepines Benzodiazepines are prescription sedatives usually prescribed for anxiety or insomnia. In recent years, prescriptions for benzodiazepines have increased significantly. Combining these types of drugs with opioids can be unsafe and cause fatal overdose.
Hallucinogens Hallucinogens are a classification of drugs that alter the user's p​er​ception. Hallucinogens can come from natural sources such as plants and mushrooms or they can be made by humans. Some common hallucinogens include salvia divinorum, LSD and PCP.

Dietary Supplements
Dietary supplements are intended to supplement the diet by increasing the dietary intake of a substance such as a vitamin, mineral, herb/botanical, enzyme or amino acid. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, these substances are not intended to be a treatment, diagnosis or cure for any disease and should not be labeled as such. The U.S. National Library of Medicine lists many herbs and supplements and information on their effectiveness, usual dosage and drug interactions. Find more information at this link.

Dietary supplements may be used by Sailors to meet the demands of military performance, but some supplements could be adulterated (contain unsafe ingredients) or misbranded (labeled falsely or misleadingly), creating potential threats to safety, health and career. Learn more from Operation Supplement Safety (OPSS) (, the Department of Defense dietary supplement resource for the military community, leaders, healthcare providers and DoD civilians. This resource can help Sailors and their families make more informed decisions about dietary supplements that they may use and understand the risks associated with certain supplements. Questions about supplements can be directed to the page's "Ask the Expert" ( section. Learn about cannabidiol or CBD here.
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