An Online Resource Center for Family and Friends of People Battling Drug Addiction

Understanding Addiction – Drugs and Trends

Did you know that drugs are widely available on the internet? Monitoring data shows that in 2010 there were 30 online shops selling “legal highs”; in 2011 there were over 60 (The New High-Designer Drugs and New Trends, 2012), (pdf).   Also, there are instructions for making and using various substances, often with YouTube video demonstrations.


Opiates are a group of drugs used for treating pain.  They are derived from opium which comes from the poppy plant. They may be called opiates, opioids, and narcotics. The term, opioids, is often used for the entire class of drugs including the synthetic opiates such as Oxycontin.  ‘Opiates’ is the most commonly used term.  They are highly addictive.  They include:

  • Codeine
  • Vicodin, Hydocan (hydrocodone)
  • MS Contin Kadian (morphine)
  • Oxycontin, Percoset (oxycodone)
  • Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
  • Duragesic (fentanyl)
  • Heroin (synthesized from morphine)

To be better informed, the Parent Addiction Network suggests the following documents from and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Drug Guide for Parents a one-page fact sheet from (pdf)

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs  – a two-page information sheet from NIDA (pdf)

Commonly Abused Drugs a two-page information sheet from NIDA (pdf)


Find a brief page description of each drug, its street names, effects on the brain and body, and trends.  Click on Drug Abuse Information Guide (url) that takes you to the NIDA website.

There is also a series of bulletins that provide information on all the major drugs called, Drug Facts.  Click on this link to NIDA and find information on:

  • MDMA (Ecstasy)
  • Marijuana
  • Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications
  • Salvia
  • Spice (Synthetic Marijuana)
  • Synthetic Cathinones (“Bath Salts”)
  • Inhalants
  • Anabolic Steroids
  • Khat
  • Club Drugs (GHB, Ketamine, Rohypnol)
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Hallucinogens
  • Stimulant ADHD medications

SEE ALSOMyths and facts about heroin use  (url, Michael’s

The New High-Designer Drugs and New Trends, by Donald W. Reid, 2012. Click on this pdf document for descriptions and photos, product names, uses, signs/symptoms, effects, and risks. Some of these new “highs” can be made at home with ingredients found in our homes.  The Parent Addiction Network has summarized some of the information in the following:

Bath Salts not the traditional bath salts; contains manmade chemicals; easily available on the internet; similar high to cocaine, meth, MDMA (ecstasy) or LSD. Users can become psychotic, suicidal, violent. Snorted, injected, smoked, mixed with food, mixed with a drink, airborne mist.

Called by such names as Ivory Purple Wave, Vanilla Sky, Bliss, White, Ivory Soft, Rush, Red Dove, Ocean, Cloud 9, etc. Legislation underway to criminalize bath salts. Cited as an “imminent threat to public safety” by the DEA.

Devil’s Breath or scopolamine –  a Hazardous drug that eliminates free will and can wipe the memory of its victim is currently being dealt on the streets of Colombia. The victim can be drugged in a matter of minutes.

Cheese – the “new face of heroin”: Black tar heroin is combined with crushed Xanax or Tylenol PM tablets; highly addictive and very dangerous; tan colored power that is usually snorted and purchased for as little as $2 for a small paper bindle or zip lock baggies. Also called cheez, chex, chz, queso, keso, Kso… Can be purchased for as little as $10 per gram or a single dose for $2.

Krokodil – Derivative of morphine and much more potent; a cheaper alternative to heroin at $6-$8 per injection. Easily made from the medicine cabinet and household ingredients. Nicknames: Walking Dead, Crocodile, Krok, Zombie Drug. Primarily used by heroin addicts who can no longer afford heroin.

Bromo, DragonFly, or B-Fly – synthetic potent hallucinogen sold over the web. Similar to LSD; very toxic and overdose risk is high

Crunk – The newest fad includes a “high” created right at home from ingredients that can be found in any medicine cabinet and refrigerator – a mixture of soda with over-the-counter cough syrup and crushed prescription painkillers. Can cause blackouts, breathing problems, loss of consciousness and death. Kids can buy pills for $3 to $ 5. Crush it up, mix it with sprite and cough syrup and kids have a sweet concoction that can be deadly (and very addictive)

Drunken Gummies – mix vodka and Gummy bears. Gummy Bears soak up the vodka; odorless; person eating them don’t have any idea how much alcohol they are putting into their system. Step-by-step instructions on YouTube.

Hand Sanitizer – Few squirts equals a couple shots of hard liquor. Becoming a national problem. Liquid hand sanitizer is 62 to 65 percent ethyl alcohol making it 120-proof; compare to a bottle of vodka is 80-proof. Teenagers use salt to break up the alcohol from the sanitizer to get a more powerful dose. Instructions on the internet

Weed butter – safer method for ingesting marijuana; used in baked goods, brownies, cakes, etc.

Synthetic cannabinoids – “7H”, “K2”, “Spice”, “7th Heaven” are products containing synthetic cannabinoids chemicals resembling THC, the primary element in marijuana. Legal and readily available alternative to marijuana. Common field test kits, canines, and urine tests do not detect cannabinoids.

Khat – Use is most prevalent among immigrants from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Yemen and increasingly found in all major cities. Consumed as a tea; chewed and sometimes smoked or sprinkled on food.


Another resource is the Addiction Guide for families and friends of addicts at

Language Matters!

So that we can communicate effectively with each other as we address the drug epidemic confronting Dane County, we at the Parent Addiction Network want to clarify some terms and concepts in use.  There are a lot of terms used to describe substance use and addiction; a lack of a common language can cause confusion and perpetuate the stigma that so many of us want to dispel.  While the field of addiction continues to evolve as does its language, we provide the following based on the research and best practice to date.   (Coming soon – please check back!)



DrugFacts: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction, (pdf) 3 page brochure from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Drugs, Brains and Behavior: The science of addiction, (pdf) 36 page document from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Glossary of drug abuse and mental health terms.   From Wisconsin Family Ties. 2008. Family Guide to Adolescent Substance Abuse Information and Services in Wisconsin. Pages 48-54.



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