Health Effects of Drugs and Alcohol

Drug Type Dependence Possible Effects Effects of Overdose Withdrawal Syndrome
Narcotics
(e.g. heroin, morphine, codeine)
High Euphoria, drowsiness, respiratory depression, constricted pupils, nausea Slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, possible death Watery eyes, runny nose, yawning, loss of appetite, irritability, tremors, panic, cramps, nausea, chills and sweating
Depressants
(e.g. GHB, benzodiazepines)
Moderate Slurred speech, disorientation, drunken behavior without odor of alcohol, impaired memory of events, interacts with alcohol Shallow respiration, clammy skin, dilated pupils, weak and rapid pulse, coma, possible death Anxiety, insomnia, tremors, delirium, convulsions, possible death
Stimulants
(e.g. cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine)
High Increased alertness, excitation, euphoria, increased pulse rate and blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite Agitation, increased body temperature, hallucinations, convulsions, possible death Apathy, long periods of sleep, irritability, depression, disorientation
Hallucinogens
(e.g. LSD, PCP, ecstasy, mushrooms, peyote)
Moderate - High Heightened senses, teeth grinding, dehydration, illusions and hallucinations, altered perception of time and distance Increased body temperature, electrolyte imbalance, cardiac arrest; unable direct movement, feel pain, or remember Muscle aches, drowsiness, depression, acne
Cannabis
(e.g. marijuana, hashish, hashish oil)
Moderate Euphoria, relaxed inhibitions, increased appetite, disorientation Fatigue, paranoia, possible psychosis Insomnia, hyperactivity, decreased appetite
Anabolic Steroids
(e.g. testosterone)
Unknown Virilization, edema, testicular atrophy, gynecomastia, acne, aggressive behavior Unknown Possible depression
Inhalants Low - High Flushing, hypotension, headache, impaired memory, slurred speech, drunken behavior, slow onset vitamin deficiency, organ damage Methemoglobinemia, vomiting, respiratory depression loss of consciousness, possible death Agitation, trembling, anxiety, insomnia, vitamin deficiency, confusion, hallucinations, convulsions
Alcohol High Impaired memory, slurred speech, drunken behavior, slow onset vitamin deficiency, organ damage Vomiting, respiratory depression, loss of consciousness, possible death Trembling, anxiety, insomnia, vitamin deficiency, confusion, hallucinations, convulsions

Adapted from U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration "Drugs of Abuse"