A Brief Guide to the Most Prevalent Campus Drugs


Anna Letson

Cocaine, also known as the party drug, is a popular drug with a short rush.

Ankita Bhanot, Deputy Features Editor

WSN does not endorse the use of any illegal drugs. However, should you choose to use them, here’s what you need to know.

Drugs are everywhere. Especially in New York City, the prevalence of drugs seems inescapable. Whether you do or don’t choose to participate in the drug culture around campus, it is important to be aware of how different drugs can affect your mind and body. We talked to students and consulted medical expertise to give you the low-down on the effects of the most common drugs around the city.


Weed. Grass. Ganja. Jolly Green. Call it what you want; marijuana is the most prevalent drug in New York City and most of the country. More than one-third of drug reports in New York City involve marijuana — more than any other drug. Practically everyone and their mother has a dealer around NYU.

How It Feels: The high off of weed is just a slightly altered version of reality. For some reason, music sounds better and food tastes better. Many people get the common giggles after smoking weed, where everything you hear seems like the most hilarious thing in the world, but it can also calm you down. The duration and intensity of the high depends on how often a person smokes marijuana, but effects are usually immediate — within a few minutes — and last from one to three hours.

Short-Term Effects: Like you’ve seen in every bad Seth Rogen movie about smoking pot, marijuana can dumb you down, including short-term memory loss, slower reaction time and minor difficulty with motor skills. Users may also feel paranoid and have a distorted perception of time.

Long-Term Effects: The actual long-term effects of marijuana have been highly debated, with some studies showing chronic use as decreasing IQ, while others believe there are no negative effects. The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists some minor respiratory problems as long-term effects, but mental effects vary by person.


Mushrooms! You know ‘em, you love ‘em, you put them in your stir fry. Just kidding. Psychedelic mushrooms — or ‘shrooms, as the kids are calling them — aren’t the brown fungi you can find in your pasta at Olive Garden, but they are edible.

How It Feels: Mushrooms primarily have a psychological effect on users, reducing feelings of fear and stress and making them feel more connected and receptive to the people around them. Feelings of excitement and joy are sometimes heightened. The effects of mushrooms typically go into full effect after 60 to 90 minutes.

Short-Term Effects: Some describe having an afterglow for a few days after taking shrooms, which includes an improved mood and outlook, and an increased openness towards others.

Long-Term Effects: Numerous studies have demonstrated that mushrooms can reduce anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders. A study by the John Hopkins University stated that a majority of participants in a test group who took a single dose of mushrooms said that it was “one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives.” The same study stated that there were neither any lingering long-term effects nor any clinical evidence of harm after the use of shrooms. Researchers only cautioned against using shrooms in less well-supervised settings.


Cocaine is the second most prevalent drug in New York City, making up 33 percent of all drug reports filed in 2015. Known as the party drug, cocaine is used by many, including students, Wall Street traders and celebrities. Did you know that cocaine actually used to be the secret ingredient in Coca-Cola in 1885? The company finally removed it when they realized soda shouldn’t be that good.

How It Feels: Immediately after taking the drug, users will likely experience a heightened sense of self-confidence, euphoria and sociability. People may feel highly energetic but find it hard to focus. A high from snorted cocaine hits within one to five minutes and can last for up to two hours. Injected cocaine hits users almost immediately and lasts 30 minutes to an hour.

Short-Term Effects: The high can be described as an intense caffeine rush combined with an adrenaline rush, but this is sometimes followed by a downfall, in which the user experiences the opposite: loss of appetite, energy and a craving for the drug.

Long-Term Effects: Negative physical damages mainly affect regular users who abuse the drug over a long period of time. About 17 percent become chronically addicted, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science. Crack cocaine is much more addictive because of its difference in chemical makeup. Crack is cocaine that has been processed to remove HCL, meaning it’s in its “free base” form and rapidly absorbed when smoked. The most common effects are damage to blood vessels in the heart and brain, severe depression and high blood pressure.


LSD, or acid, is a popular psychedelic drug among college students. Its use is common among artists, as acid is known for heightening people’s perception of color.

How It Feels: Many report seeing colors with heightened vibrancy or experiencing two-dimensional color as a moving texture. “I associated feelings with colors,” one student said. “I kept seeing a green light as a projection of my feeling. I went into the closet and I felt like I was glowing.” As with some other drugs, emotional states become heightened; people in a good mood while taking the drug often describe feeling euphoric. The effects of LSD can can last up to 12 hours and start to kick in about 30 to 45 minutes after consumption of the drug.

Short-Term Effects: Some users may experience dizziness, insomnia and enlarged pupils.

Long-Term Effects: The most common and tested long-term effects are paranoia and occasional mood swings.


Ecstasy — known scientifically as MDMA — or molly, is commonly used at music festivals and concerts because of the feelings of conviviality and togetherness it elicits in people. But in recent years, ecstasy has begun to be used more casually among friends, and not just in group settings.

How It Feels: Ecstasy, as the name suggests, affects most people by heightening feelings of euphoria and confidence. The most common effect is how the user feels towards other people: strangers suddenly seem like close friends, and you feel comfortable enough to walk up to anyone as if they’re a loved one. People often describe feeling more friendly and connected to others.

Short-Term Effects: Ecstasy can cause lowered inhibition, muscle tension, blurred vision and increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Long-Term Effects: Long-term effects of the drug include possible anxiety, depression and problems relating to attention, memory and sleep.

Email Ankita Bhanot at [email protected].