Woman hugs pillow as she ponders the most commonly abused drugs

5 Most Commonly Abused Drugs

While drug abuse affects millions of people worldwide, several drugs have been found to be more commonly abused than others. Awareness of the most widely abused drugs will help you be more vigilant if you or a loved one is using one of these drugs either by prescription or recreationally.

Once a person is addicted to a drug, it can feel impossible to stop using it. Without the proper help, you can suffer many detrimental effects, which will only worsen over time. Find the compassionate care you need at Washburn House. We have substance abuse treatment to address the most common drug addictions so you can return to living a healthier sober lifestyle. Contact us at 855.298.3104 to learn more about common drug addictions.

5 Drugs Commonly Abused

Many different types of drugs can be abused, although the drugs commonly abused are those that provide pain relief, relaxation, or euphoria. For example, someone is much more likely to use opioid painkillers than their blood pressure medication. Here are five of the most commonly abused drugs:


Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug in the world, and it can lead to various health problems. Alcohol abuse is responsible for over 100,000 deaths annually in the United States alone, making it the fourth leading cause of preventable death in the country. Alcohol is also one of the most easily accessed drugs since it is legal and no prescription is required.


Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription painkillers like:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • OxyContin
  • Percocet
  • Vicodin

Opioids are highly addictive and can cause serious health problems if misused. People who abuse opioids may feel drowsy or sleepy, have trouble breathing, experience constipation, feel nauseous, or even pass out from an overdose. 


Stimulants are drugs that increase the activity of the central nervous system. Some commonly abused stimulants include:

  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Methamphetamine (crystal meth)

Stimulants can treat several conditions, including obesity, narcolepsy, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Stimulants also have recreational uses, but they are often abused by those trying to achieve a euphoric high or improve their performance at work or school.


Benzodiazepines or benzos are commonly abused sedative drugs used to treat various medical conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, and seizures. They can also be used recreationally. Some examples of benzodiazepines are:

  • Klonopin
  • Xanax
  • Valium

Some people use these drugs recreationally to achieve euphoria and relaxation. If prescribed benzos for anxiety or insomnia, they may also take more of the medication than advised to achieve even more intense sedation.


Hallucinogens are a class of drugs that can produce visual and auditory hallucinations and altered states of consciousness. The most common hallucinogens include:

  • Mushrooms (psilocybin)
  • LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide)
  • Mescaline (peyote)
  • PCP or angel dust (phencyclidine)

Hallucinogens can be particularly dangerous because there is no way to know how much active ingredient is present in any given batch. These substances are highly unpredictable in their effects, and a person can easily overdose on them or experience adverse side effects.

Find Help for Common Drug Addictions at Promises Washburn House

While some of the above drugs commonly abused may seem harmless, they can be very dangerous and even fatal in some cases. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder or has just begun abusing drugs or alcohol, it is important to seek help as soon as possible before things get worse. No drug abuse problem is too big or small for Promises Washburn House. Contact us at 855.298.3104 even if you are not ready to get help but have questions about our treatment options.

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