Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drugs are those that are not prescribed by a doctor or bought at a drugstore. They are sometimes also called "street drugs."

Some examples of illegal drugs include heroin (an opioid); cocaine (a stimulant); LSD, mescaline, PCP, methamphetamine, and psilocybin (hallucinogens).

The effects of illegal drugs can be unpredictable because:

  • People respond differently to the same drugs.
  • The strength or potency of the drug may be uncertain.
  • They may contain unknown or unexpected substances. There is no quality control for street drugs like that required for prescription drugs.
  • They may interact with other drugs or alcohol in unpredictable ways.
  • Even though they look like prescription drugs, they may contain dangerous chemicals.

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