A marijuana leaf and a man with a lighter sit down

With drug addiction rates climbing every year, it is important today for parents to have a firm understanding of the current popular drugs of abuse. With the rise in prescription drug abuse, in particular, the importance of this knowledge is clear.

Here is a guide to the currently most popular drugs of abuse.


While marijuana use is certainly nothing new, the routes of administration have greatly expanded past simply smoking the plant.

With the popularization of vaping on the rise, several marijuana containing vape pens have been introduced to the market. Edible marijuana products, such as brownies, gummies, drinks, etc has also seen a marked rise in popularity recently.

Opioids (Oxycodone, Vicoden, Heroin)

While the Opioid Epidemic is largely tied to heroin and fentanyl abuse, its origins lie in prescription painkiller abuse. These include the commonly prescribed drugs Vicoden (hydrocodone), Oxycotin (oxycodone), Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen), Dilaudid (hydromorphone), morphine, and many other painkillers.

The ready availability of such dangerous narcotics in households has led countless youth to experimenting with such drugs at a very young age. These drugs often provide the gateway to the street heroin abuse that is causing the overdose rates in the country to skyrocket.

Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan)

Benzodiazepines refer to the prescription drug class that includes Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), and others.

These drugs, which are normally prescribed for anxiety disorders, have become popular drugs of abuse over the years. Much like prescription painkillers, this is largely due to the ready availability of them in households.

Amphetamines (methamphetamine, Adderall, Vyvanse)

Amphetamine abuse has mirrored that of heroin/painkiller abuse, due to the ready availability of prescription amphetamines for attention deficit disorders.

Common prescription amphetamines include Adderall (mixed salt amphetamine), Ritalin (methylphenidate), and others. These too, much like painkillers, can ultimately serve as the gateway for harder illicit substances such as cocaine and methamphetamine.

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Designer Drugs (fentanyl, ecstasy, synthetic marijuana)

While designer drugs such as ecstasy (MDMA) have been a problem for a few decades now, new designer drugs have emerged as a major problem. To make matters worse, most of these substances spread due to their legality while the law takes time to catch up.

Synthetic marijuana, such as Spice and K2, are often readily available at gas stations and head shops. Synthetic cathinones, known as “bath salts”, have particularly nasty side effects such as temporary psychosis.

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.