All commonly used psychoactive drugs act on the brain, or central nervous system to produce changes in mood, perception and behaviour. Play the Drugs Effects Quiz to see if you can identify the effects of different drugs.
Statements about drug effects however, are about what normally happens to most people - or in extreme circumstances - because not everyone reacts to drugs in the same way. Drug use does not take place in isolation but in a social and cultural context. Drug effects will vary from person to person and from situation to situation. It is therefore important when considering the effects of any given drug to think of them in terms of the drug, set (person) and setting (situation) model (click on Drug, Set and Setting activity link to the right).
The effects of each category of drug, as described in the sections below, are therefore only a brief and general summary of drug effects.
For a more comprehensive review of individual drug effects see some of the following resources which can be borrowed from the Health Promotion Information and Resource Library.
All the resources recommended above can be borrowed from the Library through the online catalogue HPAC.
Stimulant, Hallucinogen or Depressant? Use our interactive quiz to test your knowledge by putting drugs into the correct category. Drugs can be classified into three categories based on their effects on the brain or central nervous system.
Stimulants increase the neural activity of the central nervous system to produce increases in breathing, heart-rate and blood pressure.
Depressant drugs suppress the neural activity of the Central Nervous System and in turn decrease breathing, heart-rate and blood pressure.
Hallucinogenic drugs act on the brain to alter the perception of what is real. They modify perceptions of thoughts, sounds and images that flood our brains on a daily basis.