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What Are the Different Types of Illegal Narcotics That Exist Today?

Did you know that over 21 percent of Americans aged 12 or older used illegal narcotics in 2020? This appalling statistic sheds light on the very real drug problem that plagues our country today.

Worst of all, a large majority of these drug users are young adults between the ages of 18 and 25—many of whom become addicted to their drug of choice.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the reason why drug abuse has risen at such drastic rates over the past decade. Many attribute it to a more liberated generation of youth while others believe it stems from the rise in mental illness and depression.

Today we’re going to discuss the five most popular narcotics that are distributed in today’s black market and some of the most shocking facts surrounding them.


Heroin is one of the deadliest street drugs in the United States, especially in recent years. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, almost a quarter of those who try heroin become addicted to it.

Heroin works by activating the opioid receptors in the brain. This results in relaxation, blocking feelings of pain, and producing euphoria. Unfortunately, due to the U.S. opioid epidemic and the war on drugs, many people turned to illegal drugs such as Heroin since it’s cheaper and more accessible than prescription opioids. Sadly, 136 people die every day from an opioid overdose.


Cocaine comes in many different forms. It’s most often used in powdered form in which users can snort or inject into their bloodstream. Crack cocaine is the crystal form of the drug that’s smoked and absorbed through the lungs.

Cocaine is a stimulant that triggers the brain to release large amounts of dopamine, the neurotransmitter involved in pleasure. It provides an intense, short-lived high that oftentimes leads to repeated use over a short period of time. Because of its “binge” pattern of abuse, cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs in the world.


Methamphetamine, often referred to as meth, is an even more intense stimulant than cocaine. Unlike cocaine, which only lasts around 15 to 30 minutes, methamphetamine highs can last more than 16 hours.

Methamphetamine increases alertness and allows users to stay awake for days at a time. Users commonly describe it as a feeling of invincibility.

Consequently, users tend to take part in dangerous and potentially life-threatening activities. The high is typically associated with a crash which oftentimes leads to users binging in the drug for days at a time.


Out of all the types of drugs available, marijuana is by far the most common. It’s estimated that over 94 million people in the United States have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime.

Marijuana is a depressant that impairs learning, focus, short-term memory, and coordination. Although marijuana is viewed as less harmful than other illegal drugs, you can still become addicted to it.

In addition, because of its potent smell, drug sniffing dogs are easily able to detect it, making it the most seized drug in the history of the United States. According to American Addiction Centers, marijuana accounts for 99.5 percent of all drug seizures at the southwestern border of the United States.

MDMA (Ecstasy)

MDMA, also known as Molly or Ecstasy, is sold in many different forms including pills, powder, and tablets. Users of MDMA report feelings of connectedness to people and nature and experience high levels of euphoria.

Some of its side effects include sweating, increased heart rate, dehydration, and insomnia.

Among the narcotics industry, MDMA is considered to be one of the most dangerous among young people. This is because MDMA is laboratory-made and oftentimes contains other harmful drugs that can result in overdose. Testing on MDMA seized by law enforcement oftentimes shows a cocktail of deadly drugs including PCP, cocaine, and even bath salts.

The Deadliest Illegal Narcotics

Today, there are many different types of illegal narcotics plaguing the streets of America. Some of the most common drugs include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and MDMA.

Unfortunately, statistics paint a picture of the grim reality of today’s drug abuse. Despite the war on drugs and efforts to combat addiction, evil continues to prevail. Addiction destroys lives, harms society, and tears families apart every day.

But, by continuing to spread awareness regarding the dangers of these deadly substances, we can make a difference as a collective. Remember, say no to drugs and say yes to good health!

If you found this article interesting, be sure to check out our other articles related to living a healthy and positive lifestyle!

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