most commonly abused types of drugs

Classifying drugs by chemical similarities is helpful because drugs that are chemically similar often have similar risks and impacts. A person who is addicted to a drug is also more likely to abuse and become addicted to other drugs if they are chemically similar. Despite these generalities, chemically similar drugs may have very different legal and medical impacts. Listed below are the most commonly abused types of drugs by their class.

Drug Classifications By Chemical Makeup

  • Alcohol

Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance across all over the world, including in the United States. Legal to a certain extent in all 50 states, alcohol impacts numerous body systems, resulting in numerous effects in its users. There are many types of alcohol, including:

  • – Liquor
  • – Beer
  • – Wine
  • Opioids

Also known as “opiates”, opioids either stem from the drug opium or the chemicals designed to copy it. Opioids work by interacting with neurotransmitters in the brain and blocking the signals that they are sending. This enables opioids to act as powerful painkillers, but can also cause feelings of intense pleasure, which lead to addiction. Some of the most popular opioids include:

  • – Heroin
  • – Oxycodone
  • – Fentanyl
  • Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines, or “Benzos” are a class of drugs that work by interacting with the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A). Each Benzo interacts with GABA-A differently, which is why each Benzo impacts the body and mind differently. Benzos are prescribed to treat a wide variety of psychiatric and sleep conditions, but they are very commonly abused. Examples of Benzos include:

  • – Xanax
  • – Valium
  • – Ativan
  • Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are a class of drugs that have a similar chemical makeup to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active agent in marijuana. Cannabinoids create feelings of elation, known as a high, but they also negatively impact physical and mental functions. Cannabinoids are the most widely abused drugs after alcohol, and they are increasingly gaining legal acceptance. Examples of cannabinoids include:

  • – Marijuana
  • – Hashish
  • Barbiturates

Barbiturates affect the central nervous system by slowing down its functions. Barbiturates are derivatives of the chemical barbituric acid. Barbiturates were historically popular for the treatment of sleep and psychiatric disorders, and they are still used for anesthesia, epilepsy, and headaches. Barbiturates are highly addictive, and they also present a very high overdose risk as they cause many body systems to shut down. Examples of barbiturates include:

  • – Luminal
  • – Amytal
  • – Pentobarbital

At Asana Recovery, we understand how difficult recovering from these addictions through our daily work to help those struggling most from this disease. While some may believe they can make it alone, rehabilitation programs are essential in the fight to break dependency. The road ahead is not a smooth or easy one, but you can traverse it if done so with the support of the right team. Counseling and aftercare processes can assist you by addressing the psychological facets that led you to addition and help you build a structure from which to better cope with life without succumbing to addiction.

The supervised detoxification and residential treatment programs at Asana Recovery are offered in a supportive, relaxing, and inspiring environment. We’re deeply committed to ensuring your long-term recovery, and guiding you on your path to a healthier and happier future. There is no better time than now, and we’re always available to speak with you. Call us at (949) 438-4504 to learn more about our comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction treatment program today.


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