A drug is a broad label given to any substance that changes
the way your brain works. Drugs can be broadly classified into three groups:
depressants, stimulants and hallucinogens.
Some drugs have a 'depressant' effect and
slow down your reaction to things. Taken in small amounts
they may make you feel more relaxed. Taken in large amounts
they may cause you to pass out as they slow down your
breathing and heart rate or may cause nausea, vomiting and
even death. Mixing depressant drugs may be dangerous and
increases the likelihood of overdose.
The effect of the depressant you are taking
may also be influenced by the amount you take. Taken in
large amounts cannabis may cause hallucinations.
Depressant drugs include:
- opiates and opioids, including drugs
like heroin, opium, morphine, codeine and methadone
- cannabis (marijuana, hashish, hash
- sedatives and hypnotics (including
valium and rohypnol)
- some solvents and inhalants, like
petrol, glue, lighter fluids and paint thinners.
Some drugs have a 'stimulant' effect which
make you feel more awake and alert. They increase your heart
rate, body temperature and blood pressure. Stimulants may
make you feel agitated, keep you awake, decrease your
appetite and dilate your pupils.
you take a large amount of a stimulant drug you can become
anxious, paranoid, aggressive and get stomach cramps.
People who also use amphetamines regularly
may be putting themselves at risk of acute paranoid
Stimulant drugs include:
- amphetamines (eg speed or
- ephedrine (Sudafed)
- ecstasy (MDMA).
Drugs have their own individual effects on
people, which may result in different experiences and
reactions for everyone.
and the environment at the time of taking the substance may
affect your reaction to it.
Depressants, stimulants and hallucinogens
all have different effects (see information above). You may
want to check out the
Australian Drug Foundation's website for information
about the effects of individual drugs.
Illegal drugs can be particularly unpredictable, as they are
not manufactured in a controlled way. Any time you take an illegal drug you
cannot know whether it is stronger or weaker or the same as the last time you
tried it which means you may be taking more than intended.
Drugs In Australia Use, harm and policy
responses. This is a commissioned report, review of the current state on illicit
drugs in Australia, and was published by the NHMRC in 1998.
Alcohol and other
Drugs Council of Australia The Alcohol and other Drugs
Council of Australia (ADCA) is the peak, national, non-government organisation
representing the interests of the Australian alcohol and other drugs sector,
providing a national voice for people working to reduce the harm caused by
alcohol and other drugs. ADCA works collaboratively with the government,
non-government, business and community sectors to promote evidence-based,
socially just, approaches aimed at preventing or reducing the health, economic
and social harm caused by alcohol and other drugs to individuals, families,
communities and the nation.
National Drug Strategy
2004-2009 is the overarching policy framework across Australia for
addressing licit and illicit drug issues nationally. Underneath the Strategy
initiatives that address the risks of alcohol misuse and tobacco have been
This is where you can find out the facts about
illicit drugs. We've also included a list of information and
support services if you want to find out about illegal drugs or
if you or friends are looking for help and support.
National Council on Drugs (ANCD) The
Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) is the principal
advisory body to Government on drug policy and plays a critical
role in ensuring the voice of the community is heard in relation
to drug related policies and strategies.
More information on drugs.
and Chronic Users
Drugs The Straight Facts, Antidepressants
Drugs The Straight Facts, Designer Drugs
Straight Facts, Ecstasy
Straight Facts, Morphine
Drugs The Straight Facts, Peyote and Mescaline
The Straight Facts, Sleep Aids