Illicit Drugs You’ve Never Heard of Part 3

In Illicit Drugs You’ve Never Heard of Part 2, we discussed a number of drugs that are rarely known by the general public. This included Philosopher’s Stones, Dextromethorphan or DMX, Ketamine or Special K, and Salvia Divinorum. Understanding these little-known drugs is critical because the fact that they are not well known doesn’t make them any less threatening. These and other uncommonly discussed drugs lead to the same consequences as all other types of illicit drugs. And because these consequences sometimes includes imprisonment or even death, public discourse about little-known illicit drugs is critical to identifying and providing help for those people who need it most. The following are 4 additional drugs of abuse that most people are not aware of.


Cogentin (Benztropine Mesylate) is a brand name for a drug designed to treat Parkinson’s disease and other disorders related to tremors, spasms, shaking and vertigo. The drug also has a saliva inhibitory property, making it a useful tool in the dental industry. However, because Cogentin can cause hallucinations and euphoria at high doses, there is a potential of abuse for this drug, and this potential is evidenced by the increasing numbers of Cogentin being diverted for illicit use.

Reports have circulated on the web claiming that because the majority of patients taking Cogentin are doing so as a result of Parkinson’s disease, drug users have taken advantage of the fact that people who take such medication are often easily duped and have difficulty remembering the most basic events. And while this is a disturbing thought, the fact of the matter is that these drugs can easily kill a drug addict or even a one-time recreational user. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine;

“Mental confusion and excitement may occur with large doses, or in susceptible patients. Visual hallucinations have been reported occasionally. Furthermore, in the treatment of extrapyramidal disorders due to neuroleptic drugs (e.g., phenothiazines), in patients with mental disorders, occasionally there may be intensification of mental symptoms. In such cases, antiparkinsonian drugs can precipitate a toxic psychosis. Patients with mental disorders should be kept under careful observation, especially at the beginning of treatment or if dosage is increased.” (1)

Essentially, this passage indicates that people who have mental disorders – a common occurrence with drug abusers and addicts – can slip into an advanced and exacerbated state of mental illness, including psychoses when they abuse Cogentin. And because Cogentin reacts violently with some other drugs – including antidepressants – it can cause fatal suppression of the CNS or Central Nervous System.

If you or someone you love is abusing Cogentin, you need to pick up the phone right now. The call is free and help can be arranged in a matter of hours.


Khat is a drug that is widely used in the Middle East and in some parts of Africa. Drug traffickers from these regions import the substance at a greatly inflated cost to the United States, though the drug remains legal in many other countries, including most of Europe.

Khat is a plant native to Eastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It is a flowering evergreen shrub that contains powerful psychoactive properties. People have been known to chew pieces of the plant like tobacco, drink it in teas, ingest it with food, and in some cases smoke it. The use of this drug is largely cultural but because of the unique effects of the plant it is highly sought after in some illicit drug circles in the United States. But according to the US DEA;

  • Common side effects include anorexia, tahycardia, hypertension, insomnia, and gastric disorders.
  • Chronic Khat abuse can result in symptoms such as physical exhaustion, violence, and suicidal depression.
  • Widespread frequent use of Khat impacts productivity because it tends to reduce worker motivation.
  • Khat can induce manic behaviors, hyperactivity, and hallucinations.
  • There are reports of Khat-induced psychosis. (2)

These risks are troubling considering that according to many sources, khat use is on the rise. Additionally, because of the cultural use of khat by certain groups of African and Middle Eastern people, it’s likely that as these populations continue to grow, so too will the use of little-known, culturally significant drugs like khat. According to a 2005 article in BioMed Central;

“Due to improved transportation facilities, khat consumption has substantially increased during recent decades. This is reflected in the most recent issue of the World Drug Report: in 2001 five countries reported an increase in khat use and none a decrease; in 2002 an increase was reported in four, a decrease, again, in none. Kalix (1996) estimates that about 6 million individual portions are consumed each day worldwide.” (3)

Khat can be cultivated under a variety of controlled conditions with little chance of detection because most of the general public – and the average law enforcement officer – has never seen or heard of khat. However, evidence suggests that this won’t be the case for much longer.


Fortunately, the abuse of Visine is probably nothing more than a myth. However, because many people view these eye drops as benign substances, some people have attempted to ingest the substance based on claims that Visine contains psychoactive properties. However, this is false and in fact ingestion of even a small amount of Visine can be extremely dangerous and possibly result in death.

Visine is closely associated with drug abuse because many addicts and substance abusers use this product and others like it to hide the effects that drug use can have on the eyes. Desperate users that attempt to get high from Visine should be warned that ingesting the active ingredient in Visine, tetrahydrozoline, can be quite dangerous, causing blurred vision, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, seizures, tremors , coma and respiratory arrest (Tobias, 1996).


It’s not widely known that Benadryl abuse is a significant issue in the United States and Europe. Because this powerful antihistamine also can be used as an effective sleep aid and a strong sedative, Benadryl is appealing to substance abusers because it is easily available over-the-counter. According to the Wikipedia entry for Diphenhydramine;

“. . . side-effects of dry mouth and throat, increased heart rate, pupil dilation, urinary retention, constipation, and, at high doses, hallucinations or delirium. Further side-effects include motor impairment (ataxia), flushed skin, blurred vision at nearpoint owing to lack of accommodation (cycloplegia), abnormal sensitivity to bright light (photophobia), difficulty concentrating, short-term memory loss, visual disturbances, irregular breathing, dizziness, irritability, itchy skin, confusion, decreased body temperature (in general, in the hands and/or feet), erectile dysfunction, excitability . . .” (4)

Because the side effects and potential risks of these and other little-known drugs of abuse are so severe, it’s critical that anyone suffering from an addiction to such substances get help right away. Here at Recovery First, we offer one of the most successful detox and inpatient drug rehab programs available in the country. Take the first step right now by picking up the phone and calling the number at the top of your screen. We’re here for you 24 hours per day, but we can’t help if you don’t call.


(1) U.S. National Library of Medicine COGENTIN (benztropine mesylate) injection, solution
Accessed 11/22/2011

(2) United States Drug Enforcement Administration Khat
Accessed 11/22/2011

(3) Michael Odenwald, Frank Neuner, Maggie Schauer, Thomas Elbert,Claudia Catani, Birke Lingenfelder, Harald Hinkel, Heinz Häfner and Brigitte Rockstroh Khat use as risk factor for psychotic disorders: A cross-sectional and case-control study in Somalia BMC Medicine 2005, 3:5 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-3-5
Accessed 11/22/2011

(4) Wikipedia Diphenhydramine
Accessed 11/22/2011

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