Drug and Alcohol - Addiction Recovery

5 Facts About Street Drugs

Using street drugs can lead to addiction, overdose, or death. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to a street drug, call The Forge.

5 Facts About Street Drugs

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

October 19, 2022

The Forge Recovery Center

Street drugs are drugs that are sold illegally. They are usually purchased through a dealer. While most people buy street drugs from someone they know, it is common for people to take street drugs from strangers at parties, which can be dangerous.

Some people think that using street drugs occasionally does not put them at risk of developing an addiction. However, using street drugs still leaves you vulnerable to developing drug addiction, and it can be life-threatening. Possessing or using street drugs can put you in legal trouble and expose you to further criminal activity.

The following five facts about street drugs can help people be more aware of some of the risks involved in using street drugs.

1. You Don’t Always Know What You Are Getting 

People are often friends with their dealers, but the power balance of these friendships can shift and become abusive once drugs become part of the relationship. Many dealers want to make as much money off their transactions as possible. This can lead dealers to participate in “cutting.”

When someone selling or manufacturing an illegal drug mixes the substance with a different drug or substance, this is called “cutting.” A dealer may “cut” a substance to increase its effects (which can worsen addiction and make their buyers more dependent on them) or to make the supply of an expensive drug last longer.

Whatever the seller’s intention, using a drug cut with a different substance can be dangerous. This is especially true if it is cut with a stronger substance that you are not prepared to take or do not have a tolerance for. For example, the powder form of heroin and cocaine look very similar, and it is not uncommon for dealers to cut cocaine and heroin together.

This is a particularly volatile combination because heroin and cocaine have different effects on the body. While heroin is a depressant, cocaine is an intense stimulant. These two very different signals can cause the body to work overtime to maintain homeostasis. This increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, respiratory failure, aneurysm, and overdose.

Any dealer, even a friend, might sell you a drug that has been cut with other substances. However, the chances of using a cut substance only increase if you take drugs from a stranger. The more often you use street drugs, the more likely you become to use something you did not intend to use.

While it may seem exciting to take a street drug to experiment, doing so can have lasting consequences on your health. In some cases, it can lead to death.

2. You Can Overdose Your First Time

Cutting aside, accepting drugs from a stranger can be deadly because they may be a more experienced user than you, which means they may have a higher tolerance. When street drugs are flowing at parties, concerts, and clubs, people usually are already in an altered state of mind from drinking or smoking. When someone is offering you a drug, they are likely to assume you are an experienced user. 

They might give you heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, or another substance that fits their tolerance, not yours. This can make the chances of overdosing that much easier. If you are around strangers who aren’t paying close attention to you, it is possible to start experiencing serious medical complications without anyone noticing.

3. You Can Report an Overdose Without Getting Arrested

One of the main reasons people die from an overdose is that people around them are too scared to call 911 or take them to a hospital out of fear of being charged with possessing an illegal substance. Forty-seven states and the District of Colombia have enacted Good Samaritan or Overdose Immunity laws that prevent an individual who reported an overdose from being arrested if intoxicated. Even if individuals are in a state that does not offer immunity laws, they are less likely to be charged with a crime if they do the right thing and call 911.

If an individual believes they or someone around them is experiencing an overdose, they need to call 911 immediately. This way, paramedics can start administering life-saving medical care and get the individual to a hospital as quickly as possible. Even if a person does not die from an overdose, they can go into respiratory failure, have a heart attack, stroke, or seizure which can permanently affect their health. Although calling 911 might be scary, saving a person’s life is protected by most states, and you are likely to end up in more trouble if you let someone die instead of taking action.

4. The Most Dangerous Street Drug Is Fentanyl

Fentanyl is believed to be 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. This makes it incredibly potent and dangerous for an unsuspecting user. Too often, fentanyl use ends in death.

As the opioid epidemic has gripped the United States, drug dealers have tried to find ways to make their heroin and opiate supplies cheaper and more addictive. Fentanyl has been their latest answer. Since fentanyl is much more affordable and easier to access than heroin, heroin is regularly cut with fentanyl. 

This has led to cluster overdoses, which occur when a bad batch of heroin is sold in a specific city or region in the United States. People will hear from their dealers that they have re-upped, and users will flock to their sellers to buy more heroin. Unfortunately, when it is laced with fentanyl, people do not always have the tolerance to handle the high potency of fentanyl, leading to overdose and death. 

5. You Can Seek Treatment Without Getting Arrested

One of the most significant barriers to substance abuse treatment is the fear of legal repercussions. After all, if you are going to get help for an addiction to an illegal substance, you must admit that you are using it. Luckily, a medical professional will not alert the police to a SUD involving criminal activity. Treatment facilities want to encourage people to get help. They have no interest in making it more difficult for people to get help.

As long as you are not currently in possession of an illegal substance, you can seek guidance from a medical professional and enter a treatment program without legal consequences. 

The Forge Recovery Center Treats Addiction to Street Drugs

It’s easy to fall into addiction, especially when you wind up taking drugs you didn’t intend to. Substance abuse can be lethal, especially if it’s untreated. The Forge Recovery Center combines effective, cutting-edge addiction medicine with evidence-proven methods to treat addiction to street drugs.

Why risk an overdose or worse? Contact The Forge Recovery Center today!

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