Nicotine, nicotine, you don't know what you do to me, you drive me crazy, you keep me lean. This is a song that one might sing while dying of nicotine addiction, the most common addiction America. Found in the tobacco plant, nicotine has instantaneous effects when smoked: within 10 seconds (10 SECONDS!) it shoots to your brain and releases adrenaline. What a rush.
Xanax, AKA alprazolam, is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety disorders. It does this by suppressing the nervous system to prevent attacks. It's like a sedative. People who are prescribed this can get addicted to it, and it also has a knack of getting into unprescribed hands. Non-patients love it because it has a calming effect, one so profound that it makes Xanax the most abused, prescribed drug.
Crack cocaine is the slash-cut form of regular cocaine, cheaper and way more potent. It's made by dumping cocaine into a solution of ammonia or baking soda to form crystals. The crystals can then be smoked, and the crack will shoot straight to the brain. It's highly addictive, and devastated lives, families, and entire communities.
Methadone is often used as an intervention therapy in heroin addiction, as it mimics the effects of smack on the brain. It is a synthetic opiate that can block organic opioid particles from interacting with the sensors. However, that's also what makes it highly addictive. Research shows that it might even be more addictive than heroin, making the whole thing completely absurd.
Ritalin is a stimulant often prescribed to people with ADD or ADHD. It induces the release of dopamine in the brain, which can help with focusing. However, its stimulant qualities also make it a popular club drug for those looking to stay out late. It is habit-forming, and withdrawal can be intense.
As far as club drugs go, MDMA has it all. It ups levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain, inducing feelings of energy, euphoria, and sexual arousal in those that take it. In some studies, lab rats were found to be giving themselves more MDMA, a sign that the drug is addictive. Coming down can involve depression, anxiety, and physiological problems.
Oxycodone is a pain suppressant that works by dampening the central nervous system, like an opioid. It attaches to receptors all throughout the CNS, in the spinal cord and brain, and alters the body's response to pain. Concomitant effects include euphoria, owing to the drugs addictive qualities.
No, I didn't put cocaine down twice. That's a familiar drug that's in most people's homes, and definitely in the stuff they eat. It's sugar, and some scientists think it could be even more addictive than cocaine. Sugar taps into the same reward neural pathways that cocaine does, and in animal studies can even activate them more than cocaine. Sugar intake in this country is astoundingly high, and might lend credence to this theory.