Prescription drug abuse: What pills are we popping?

Americans currently abuse three classes of medications: depressants, pain killers, and stimulants. But what’s the difference between Ambien and Adderall? Learn more about subclasses and medication brand names here.

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We list the most common classes of drugs abused by Americans, their sub-classes and brand names. Please feel free to email, comment or post any oversights. I will update this list often.


1. Codeine
2. Buprenorphine
– Norspan
– Subutex
3. Diphenoxylate
– Lomotil
4. Fentanyl
5. Hydrocodone
– Vicodin (what does Vicodin look like?)
– Lortab
– Lorcet
6. Hydromorphone
– Dilaudid
7. Meperidine
– Demerol
8. Methadone
9. Morphine
10. Oxycodone
– OxyContin
– Percodan
– Percocet
– Tylox
11. Propoxyphene
– Darvon




1. Pentobarbital sodium
2. Nembutal

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1. Alprazolam
– Zanax
– Ativan
– Lorazepam
2. Clonazepam
– Klonopin
3. Diazepam
– Valium
4. Zolpidem
– Ambien

Muscle relaxants

1. Carisoprodol
– Soma
2. Cyclobenzaprine
– Flexeril



1. Amphetamines
– Adderall
– Phentermine (Adipex)
2. Dextroamphetamine
– Dexedrine
3. Methylphenidate
– Concerta
– Ritalin

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To learn street names for these drugs, check out the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s street term database. They define over 2,300 for drug types or drug activity. Granted, the database has not been updated in five (5) years, but it seems rather thorough. I browsed the 600+ terms for marijuana…and although people probably use only a fraction of these words in real life, the database is useful for getting better understanding of drug culture and even drug combinations.

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About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.

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  1. Very useful list. Thanks for linking to the street term database. When it comes to drug abuse and addiction, awareness is key.

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