Stimulants, sometimes called “uppers,” temporarily increase alertness and energy. The most commonly used street drugs that fall into this category are cocaine and amphetamines.

Prescription stimulants come in tablets or capsules. When abused, they are swallowed, injected in liquid form or crushed and snorted.


The short-term effects of stimulants include exhaustion, apathy and depression—the “down” that follows the “up.” It is this immediate and lasting exhaustion that quickly leads the stimulant user to want the drug again. Soon he is not trying to get “high,” he is only trying to get “well”—to feel any energy at all.


Stimulants can be addictive. Repeated high doses of some stimulants over a short period can lead to feelings of hostility or paranoia. Such doses may also result in dangerously high body temperatures and an irregular heartbeat.


For more information about the abuse of prescription stimulants, see The Truth About Ritalin Abuse.


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