Physicians have long recognized that different types of drugs affect people differently. Nonetheless, drugs may be categorized or classified according to certain shared symptomatologies or effects. The DRE categorization process is premised on these long-standing, medically accepted facts. DREs classify drugs in one of seven categories: central nervous system (CNS) depressants, CNS stimulants, hallucinogens, dissociative anesthetics, narcotic analgesics, inhalants, and cannabis. Drugs from each of these categories can affect a person’s central nervous system and impair a person’s normal faculties, including a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
(1) Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants
CNS depressants slow down the operations of the brain and the body. Examples of CNS depressants include alcohol, barbiturates, anti-anxiety tranquilizers (e.g., Valium, Librium, Xanax, Prozac, and Thorazine), GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate), Rohypnol, and many other anti-depressants (e.g., Zoloft, Paxil).
(2) CNS Stimulants
CNS stimulants accelerate the heart rate and elevate the blood pressure and “speed-up,” or over-stimulate, the body. Examples of CNS stimulants include cocaine, “crack” cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamine (“crank”).
Hallucinogens cause the user to perceive things differently than they actually are. Examples include LSD, peyote, psilocybin and MDMA (Ecstasy).
(4) Dissociative Anesthetics
Dissociative anesthetics include drugs that inhibit pain by cutting off or dissociating the brain’s perception of the pain. PCP, its analogs, and dextromethoraphan are examples of dissociative anesthetics.
(5) Narcotic Analgesics
Narcotic analgesics relieve pain, induce euphoria, and create mood changes in the user. Examples of narcotic analgesics include opium, codeine, heroin, demerol, darvon, morphine, methadone, Vicodin, and oxycontin.
Inhalants include a wide variety of breathable substances that produce mind-altering results and effects. Examples of inhalants include Toluene, plastic cement, paint, gasoline, paint thinners, hair sprays, and various anesthetic gases.
Cannabis is the scientific name for marijuana. The active ingredient in cannabis is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This category includes cannabinoids and synthetics like Dronabinol.