A controlled substance taken for non-medical purposes. Street drugs comprise various amphetamines, anaesthetics, barbiturates, opiates, and psychoactive drugs, and many are derived from natural sources (e.g., the plants papaver somniferum, Cannibis sativa, amanita pantherina, lophophora williamsii). Slang names include acid (lysergic acid diethylamide), angel dust (phencyclidine), coke (cocaine), downers (barbiturates), grass (marijuana), hash (concentrated tetrahydrocannibinol), magic mushrooms (psilocybin), mescaline (peyote), speed (amphetamines). During the 1980s, a new class of designer drugs arose, mostly analogs of psychoactive substances intended to escape regulation under the Controlled Substances Act. Also, crack cocaine, a potent, smokable form of cocaine, emerged as a major public health problem. In the U.S. Illicit use of drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and heroin historically has occurred in cycles.
Synonym: recreational drug.