Illegal drugs have been around for many years. There are new, readily available, highly addictive, and deadly, not to mention illegal drugs on the market now.
OxyContin (oxycodone hydrochloride) is a prescribed pain reliever; however, it has been abused by people who have used it for non-medical reasons. Oxycodone is an opiate, and it is addictive. It is a Schedule II controlled substance, under DEA regulation. The problem with oxycodone is that it is an opioid agonist, meaning, “the more you take, the better you feel”. For people who have chronic pain, oxycodone offers a means of pain management. Those who abuse the drug and develop addiction are seeking the euphoria aspect of the medication. Some people “chew, snort, or inject” oxycodone to get “high”. As users become addicted, they develop a tolerance, so they need larger doses.1 A street name for oxycodone is “hillbilly heroin”.2
MDMA (“ecstasy”, “X”, “molly”) is a type of drug that can also induce euphoria. In addition, it decreases anxiety, increases a “sense of intimacy with others”, and has some psychedelic effects. While it can have medical benefits, such as for PTSD or other anxiety and stress disorders, it also has a “street pill” illegal form. MDMA has been used at clubs, raves, and festivals. It has stimulatory effects and creates a feeling of “mass communion”. MDMA is often combined with other types of drugs, such as LSD, mushrooms, or ketamine. There are also mentholated substances that are combined with the drug, such as menthol cigarettes, lozenges, or vapor rub. Side effects include dry mouth, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, lack of appetite, and difficulty concentrating. After-effects of MDMA can be depression, paranoia, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, lack of focus, insomnia, aches, and gastrointestinal problems. “Tuesday Blues” is a term used for the depression that comes after using MDMA on the weekend. Overdose is possible, and long-term mood side effects can also occur.3
One of the most terrifying new illegal drugs is krokodil (also called desomorphine and Permonid). Derived from the opioid morphine, it has “fast-acting sedative and analgesic effects”. It is far more potent than morphine, and it became known internationally in 2010 due to its illegal production in Russia. The drug is made from iodine, codeine, and red phosphorus “in a process similar to (making) methamphetamine from pseudoephedrine”. Like meth, krokodil is an impure substance. The byproducts are toxic and corrosive. The reason desomorphine is called krokodil is that it is the Russian word for “crocodile”: the skin damage of the users has a scale-like, greenish appearance. The “high” of krokodil is similar to the one on heroin, but shorter in duration. Krokodil, however, is injected without purification, so it causes gangrene and severe tissue damage. Users may even require amputation of limbs. The life expectancy of the users is so low, due to the infections, that they may die within 2 years. The drug has made its way into the US, with early cases in 2013 being reported in Phoenix, AZ and Joliet, IL.4
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