The Most Common Drugs Used By Teens

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What Are The Most Common Drugs Used By Teens?

With so many teens suffering from alcoholism and drug abuse, parents need to step in. This article will talk about how to address the issue effectively. Here are some key points that we will discuss:

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  1. Types of drugs most frequently used by adolescents
  2. Number one drug used by teens
  3. Guidelines to walk you through your relationship with your children
  4. Most commonly abused drugs by high school students.
  5. What are drugs?
  6. Why do teenagers take drugs?
  7. Statistic of drug abuse among teens
  8. Three main drug types: Depressants, Stimulants, and Hallucinogens
  9. Four common depressants used by teens
  10. Five common stimulants used by teens
  11. Two common hallucinogens or psychedelics used by teens

Learn about the best Teen Intervention Methods as a parent.

Types of Drugs Most Frequently Used By Adolescents

Alcohol: The most abused substance in LA. Street names might be referred to as alcohol brands. Other non-brand-specific names include:

  • Hooch
  • Sauce
  • Rotgut
  • Booze
  • Juice

Learn: About our Los Angeles Teen Alcohol Treatment Programs.

  • One of the most common drugs used by teens is Marijuana: A psychoactive drug with the active additives of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It has many names, such as Mary Jane
  • Pot
  • Reefer
  • Sense
  • Sinsemilla
  • Skunk
  • Smoke
  • Trees
  • Weed
  • Aunt Mary
  • Blunt
  • Bud
  • Chronic
  • Dope
  • Ganja
  • Grass
  • Green
  • Herb
  • Hydro
  • Indo
  • Joint
  • Kif

Learn: About the signs of marijuana use in teens.

Learn: About our successful Los Angeles Teen Marijuana Treatment Program.

One of the most common drugs used by teens is Cocaine: A white powdery substance used due to its euphoric stimulant effects. Street names can be:

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  • Coke
  • Snow
  • Toot
  • Coca
  • Soda Cot
  • Blow
  • Bump
  • C
  • Charlie

Learn: About Teen cocaine abuse treatment programs in Los Angeles.

Cocaine has another variant called crack cocaine, a yellowish rock simply as “crack.” It is smoked to have an instant, intense, and short-lasting effect. Its street names include:

  • Candy
  • Rock
  • Flake

Learn: How to quit cocaine

What is The Number One Drug Used By Teens?

Marijuana and heroin are thought to be the most abused substances, but in reality, it is alcohol. Alcohol is the most widely used drug among teens, and its related issues are the number one health problem in the United States.

Guidelines to Walk You Through Your Relationship With Your Children

NCADD claims that fostering the right attitude is necessary. Valuing your child’s opinions and decisions makes a difference in preventing the use of drugs and alcohol. Research shows that 50% of teens who talk to their parents about drugs are non-users. Below are some guidelines to help you foster your relationship.

Listen Before You Talk

As parents, we often think that we know what’s best for our children, but if we don’t have a good relationship with them, it is impossible to give them the best solution. To do so, we have to understand them. We must be open and consider their feelings. And so, we have to listen. Listen and observe.

A child can easily say “yes,” but their actions and gestures might betray their real feelings. Spending time with your child is essential. When they are alone, they might resort to drugs and alcohol.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

When talking to your children, avoid “yes/no” questions. Make sure to listen to understand. You have to make them feel heard. Sometimes a simple smile, hug, or thank you for sharing is enough. You don’t need a long, exhausting speech. When they share, you must remember that it is not about you. It is about building your child’s trust in you.

Be Involved

Meet your children’s friends and their parents. Reach out to see how they are spending their time together. Ask about their plans if they’re going somewhere. However, do not forget that you intend to ensure the safety of your children, not to prevent them from socializing.

Set Expectations, Consequences, and Limits

Make sure to build up authority and set clear boundaries. Your child has to know when to see you as a friend and see you as a parent. Clearly say that you do not want them to consume alcohol or drugs. Explain to them the consequences and punishments if they break the rules. At the same time, reward your child if they do well in school. This conveys that you are also paying attention to their good side, not just their negative one.

Be Honest, Open, and Optimist

Open communication between you and your children can reduce alcohol and drug abuse. The world is already full of negativity, so talk with positivity. Your child needs a good influence at home, lest they fall prey to bad ones.

Talk About Your Family History

Addiction might be connected to genetics. If there is a family history of drug or alcohol abuse, consider that it might be a chronic disease, like heart issues, cancer, or diabetes. Proper research on the consequences of drug abuse is crucial to their health. The less your child drinks or uses drugs, the fewer issues they will have in the future. You are your children’s first line of defense, so reach out to them.

Most commonly abused drugs by high school students

Alcohol and tobacco are the most massively used drugs by high school students. Younger kids opt for inhalants (breathing fumes of glues, pens, and household cleaners). In contrast, older teens abuse synthetic marijuana, “Spice” or “K2.” They might use stimulants like Adderall® or opioid pain relievers such as Vicodin®. Some surveys show that over-the-counter meds are the most abused drugs in high school.

What are drugs?

Drugs are substances created for health benefits. It alters or stimulates chemical reactions in our bodies. Doctors prescribe them to cure, diagnose and promote wellness. Drugs are usually swallowed, injected, or inhaled. They are beneficial as long as they are not used in excess.

Many drugs get into the bloodstream and affect the brain, dulling or intensifying the senses. They might change how tired or alert one might feel and hinder the ability to make reasonable decisions.

Why Do Teenagers Take Drugs?

  • Peer Pressure

Teenagers tend to go with the flow in their desire to fit in. If a peer or their best friend offers them alcohol and drugs, chances are they will accept if they are susceptible to social pressure.

  • Self-Medication & Escapism

Teens often use alcohol or drugs because it helps them deal with the symptoms of anxiety or depression. Lack of restraint usually leads to abuse.

  • Performance Improvement

To cope with the school pressure and meet the expectations of their peers, parents, or teachers, teens might use stimulants and performance-enhancing drugs.

  • Experimentation

Teenagers are naturally curious. They might want to know how it feels to be drunk or high.

  •  To Feel Grown Up

Some drink or smoke because they want to feel grown-up. The very idea of using illicit drugs seems thrilling to them.

7) Statistic of Drug Abuse Among Teens

According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, teenage drug abuse is a significant public health issue. Notably, one out of eight teenagers abuse substances.

  • Kids as young as 8th graders are often seen drinking and smoking
  • 50% of teens have consumed drugs
  • 43% of college students use illicit drugs
  • 86% of teens are socializing with substance abusers

Three Main Drug Types: Depressants, Stimulants, and Hallucinogens

  • Depressants

Depressants are drugs that affect the neurons of the central nervous system (CNS) and impede their normal functions. The symptoms are drowsiness, decreased inhibition, relaxation, anesthesia, coma, in the worst-case scenarios, death. CNS depressants decrease one’s “consciousness. “

Early parenting tips and interventions can make a significant impact in preventing a teens’ addiction. Educate your children and make sure they take the right amount of depressants as prescribed by the doctor. Always keep an eye on their intake, or manage it yourself.

  • Stimulants

Stimulants cause appetite loss, high blood pressure, and increased heart rate and body temperature. Your children might also have disturbed sleep patterns, hallucinations, irritability, and panic attacks. Taking excessive stimulants can result in seizures, convulsions, and possibly death.

Parenting tips and guides are highly useful. Proper interventions can save your child’s life. 

  • Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens can be made from mushrooms and plants or be synthetic and human-made. They typically affect serotonin, a brain chemical that controls:

  • sensory perception
  • sleep
  • mood
  • intestinal muscle control
  • hunger
  • body temperature
  • sexual performance

Moreover, dissociative hallucinogenic drugs affect glutamate, another brain chemical that controls:

  • emotion
  • pain perception
  • learning and memory
  • responses to the environment

Parental guidance is a must when a doctor prescribes hallucinogens. A watchful eye and knowing the negative consequences of hallucinogens abuse can help prevent memory loss and life risks.

Four Common Depressants Used By Teens

  1. Cannabis or Marijuana

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug with the additive delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). We will repeat its many street names, so you can keep an ear out for them:

  • Mary Jane
  • Pot
  • Reefer
  • Sense
  • Sinsemilla
  • Skunk
  • Smoke
  • Trees
  • Weed
  • Aunt Mary
  • Blunt
  • Bud
  • Chronic
  • Dope
  • Ganja
  • Grass
  • Green
  • Herb
  • Hydro
  • Indo
  • Joint
  • Kif

Short-term effects of Teen Marijuana Use:

  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of personal identity
  • Increased heart rate (risk of heart attack)
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Memory issues
  • Severe anxiety and paranoia
  • Strange behavior (psychosis)
  • Panic
  • Problems with coordination
  • Sexual problems (especially in men)
  • Seven times higher probability of having sexually transmitted diseases (especially in women) 

Long-Term Effects of Teen Marijuana Use:

  • Addiction
  • Relationship problems, violence against partners
  • Antisocial behavior, including stealing money or lying
  • Financial difficulties
  • Increased welfare dependence
  • Poor school performance, higher chance of dropping out
  • Impaired thinking, ability to learn and to perform complex tasks
  • Lower life satisfaction

2) Hashish

Hashish is a concentrated formula of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is produced from the same plants that yield marijuana. It can be an oily substance or a solid resin. Its street names are:

  • Hash
  • Hemp
  • Boom
  • Dabs
  • Gangster

Short-Term Effects of Hashish:

  • Intense sensory experiences (visual, auditory, and olfactory)
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased sociability
  • Reduction in fear and shyness
  • Relaxation
  • Heightened emotional experiences

Long-Term Effect of Hashish

  • Decrease of testosterone production
  • Respiratory complications
  • Emotional and psychological problems
  • Fluctuations in mood and cognition
  • Lowered resistance to flu, bronchitis, and colds
  • Growth issues
  • Irregular cell structure

3) GHB / Fantasy

Gamma hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, is a depressant that slows down the function of the central nervous system and the communication between the body and the brain. Some of its street names are:

  • G
  • Jizzle
  • Grievous Bodily Harm or GBH
  • Fantasy
  • Liquid Ecstasy
  • Salty Water
  • Liquid X
  • Liquid E
  • Soap
  • Georgia Home Boy
  • Scoop
  • Blue Nitro
  • Cherry Meth

Short-Term Effects of GHB

  • Confusion
  • Euphoria
  • Low blood pressure
  • Forgetfulness
  • Drowsiness
  • Low body temperature
  • Blacking out
  • Muscle problems
  • Headaches
  • Sex drive changes
  • Hallucinations
  • Speech problems
  • Clumsiness
  • Aggression

Long-Term Effects of GHB:

  • Vulnerability
  • Respiratory depression
  • Fatal overdoses
  • Psychotic or suicidal thoughts
  • Irregular blood pressure
  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal
  • Dependence

4) Alcohol 

Alcohol is one of the most used drugs by teens that are widely accessible, and also very popular needs little introduction. As we have discussed, it is the most consumed substance by teens. Some of the many terms that people use are:

  • Juice
  • Suds
  • Sauce
  • Oats Soda
  • Moonshine
  • Liquid Courage
  • 12 oz. cur
  • Hard Stuff
  • Liquid Bread
  • Hooch
  • Tummy Buster
  • Vino
  • Draft
  • Redneck Wine

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol:

  • Speech problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Distorted vision or impaired hearing
  • Impaired judgment
  • Problems with coordination and perception
  • Unconsciousness
  • Anemia
  • Coma
  • Blackouts


Long-Term Effects of Alcohol:

  • Being vulnerable to accidents
  • Self-harm
  • Decreased productivity
  • Family problems
  • Substance poisoning
  • Stroke or heart attack
  • Liver disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Brain damage
  • Vitamin B1 deficiency
  • Ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Malnutrition
  • Throat and mouth cancer


Five Common Stimulants Used By Teens

  1. Cocaine

We discussed this one above, but it’s worth noting the many street names it has, as well as the negative consequences of its uses. 

  • Bolivian Marching Powder
  • Bouncing Powder
  • Friskie Powder
  • Glad Stuff
  • Happy Dust
  • Happy Powder
  • Happy Trails
  • Love Affair
  • Marching Dust
  • Marching Powder
  • Nose Candy
  • Nose Powder
  • Nose Stuf
  • Paradise
  • Came
  • Candy C
  • Carnie
  • C-Dust
  • Cholly
  • Combo
  • Duct
  • El Perico
  • Esnortiar
  • Jelly
  • Monster
  • Mosquitos
  • Trust
  • Teenager
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Zambia

Short-term effects of Teen Cocaine Use:

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Dry mouth
  • Reduced appetite

Long-Term Effects of Teen Cocaine Use:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Hypertension
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Weight loss
  • Eating disorders
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Cerebral atrophy
  • Impaired thinking
  • Violent behavior
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke


2) Ecstasy 

This stimulant, also known as 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, combines increasing energy/alertness and creating hallucinogenic effects. While it is commonly called “ecstasy,” it may also be referred to as:

  • Adam
  • Lover’s Speed
  • Clarity
  • STP
  • E
  • X
  • Uppers
  • Beans
  • Peace
  • Disco Biscuit
  • Eve
  • XTC
  • Molly

Short-Term Effects of Ecstasy :

  • Impaired judgment
  • Confusion
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Severe anxiety
  • Drug cravings
  • Paranoia
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Involuntary teeth clenching
  • Vision problems
  • Faintness 

Long-Term Effects of Ecstasy:

  • Brain damage 
  • Nerve damages
  • Memory loss
  • Hemorrhage
  • Kidney failure
  • Psychosis
  • Convulsions
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Death

3) Methamphetamines 


Street names of Meth and Methamphetamines:

  • Batu
  • Meth
  • Black Beauties
  • Horizon
  • Chalk
  • Ice
  • Crank
  • Kansonjae
  • Crystal
  • LA Ices
  • Crystal 
  • Meth Glass
  • Monthlies
  • Hanak


Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamines

Two Common Hallucinogens or Psychedelics Used By Teens


  1. LSD / Acid

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), commonly referred to as acid, is a form of psychedelic drug. When consumed in large doses, it affects sensory perception, intensifies thoughts and emotions, and ultimately results in hallucinations. 

Street Names of Acid:

  • Acid
  • Blotter Acid
  • Dots
  • Mellow Yellow
  • Window Pane

Short-Term Effects of LSD/Acid

  • Hallucinations 
  • Distorted perception 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks 
  • Irregular heart rate 
  • Irregular body temperature
  • Dilated pupils

Long-Term Effects of LSD/ACID

  • Psychosis
  • Death 

2) Magic Mushrooms

Street names:

  • Alice
  • Magic
  • Caps
  • Mushies
  • Fungus
  • Shrooms
  • Boomers
  • Magic Mushrooms
  • Cow Patties
  • Pizza Toppings
  • Hongos
  • Tweezes

Short-Term And Long-Term Effects:

  • Disturbed or altered way of thinking
  • Disconnection or detachment from the world
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety

It should be noted that new studies are coming out about Mushrooms / Psilocybin that could potentially show positive mental health benefits if used in the right therapeutic setting. Using Mushrooms for therapeutic reasons vs using them to become intoxicated are two different things.

12) Conclusion 

Preventing teens’ drug abuse needs the intervention and coordination of both parents and children. If one loses the other, addiction might follow. A good parent-children relationship with open communication is the best way to prevent this.

If you suspect that your teen is taking drugs and you need help, Key Transitions is here for you. We tailor our teen addiction treatment program for each of our clients. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation. 

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