Acronyms and abbreviations play an important role in the medical world. While
Medscape suggests that doctors should avoid using these terms when talking to
patients, they tend to slip in when doctors are writing reports or trying to express a
great deal of information in a short amount of time.For families looking for reliable
information about treatment and drug use, this guide may help. It is full of many of the
abbreviations doctors use every day.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says the use of illicit substances is rising in the
United States. Close to 10 percent of adults use illicit drugs. There are all sorts of
acronyms that describe the substances they take.
• ATS: amphetamine-type stimulant. This acronym is used to describe a substance that is
similar to an amphetamine and can produce the same burst of energy and feeling of joy,
but which might not contain any ingredients that have been clinically recognized as
amphetamines. These drugs are not safer than amphetamine drugs.
• DXM: dextromethorphan. This substance is commonly found in cough syrups and cold
medications. The Center for Substance Abuse Research also points out that it is a
powerful hallucinogenic drug that can create a state similar to that seen when people
take PCP or ketamine.
• E: ecstasy. This drug, which is often sold and taken in concerts and other music venues,
creates hallucinations and an altered sense of reality. It has also been associated with
dangerously high body temperatures and/or heart failure.
• PCP: phencyclidine. This substance, which is also known as angel dust, is a dissociative
drug that was first created as an anesthetic, but quickly became a recreational drug of
choice for people who enjoy hallucinations.
• GBL: gamma-Butyrolactone. This drug is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. It can be used
as a solvent or a cleaner, but it can also be used to augment the effects of alcohol. Some
people also tinker with this drug as a replacement for the illegal drug, GHB.
• GHB: gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid. This substance got a reputation in the 1980s and
1990s as a “date rape drug,” as it was easy to slip into the drinks of unsuspecting party
goers, who would then become pliant and easy prey for rapists. But, as The Daily
Beast points out, the drug is making a comeback now among people who enjoy the
euphoria of alcohol without hangovers. These people take the drug purposefully.
• K2: a brand-name for synthetic marijuana. This drug was designed to help dealers evade
drug laws. The substance produces many of the same effects seen in marijuana, but it is