Prescription and Illicit Drug Abuse

Frequently Asked Questions

20. How can using illicit drugs affect my health?

Illicit opioids like heroin are powerful drugs that at first cause feelings of euphoria, then periods of drowsiness. They can also slow breathing. They are very addictive and can lead to death if too much is taken (overdose).

Illicit stimulants like cocaine make people feel more alert and energetic. But they can also cause a higher heart rate and blood pressure, panic attacks, paranoia, aggression, and other problems. They are very addictive and can lead to death if too much is taken (overdose).

Hallucinogens and dissociative drugs like LSD, peyote, and phencyclidine (PCP) can make a person see, hear, and feel things that are not really there. Physical effects may include increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; sleeplessness; sweating; dizziness; and loss of appetite. Flashbacks and mood disturbances can also occur.