Skip to main
Support lines icon
Live Chat Now
24hr Alcohol and Drug Support Line
  • Metro (08) 9442 5000
  • Country 1800 198 024
  • Emergency 000
In an emergency call 000

Illicit Drug Use, Know What You Are Getting Into

Drugs alter a person’s mood, thinking and behaviour. People take them for a range of reasons and the effects vary from person to person.

What is a drug?

A drug is any substance (with the exception of food and water) which, when taken into the body, alters the body’s function either physically and/or psychologically. Drugs may be legal (e.g. alcohol, caffeine and tobacco) or illegal (e.g. cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin).

What is a psychoactive drug?

Psychoactive drugs affect the central nervous system and alter a person’s mood, thinking and behaviour.

Effects of drugs

The experience that a person has when using other drugs will be affected by their individual characteristics, the drug and the environment or place.

People use drugs for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons people use drugs include:

  • To have fun, relax, forget problems or as a form of escapism
  • To gain confidence and socialise
  • Out of curiosity
  • To lessen inhibitions
  • To remove personal responsibility for decisions
  • To celebrate or commiserate
  • To relieve boredom and stress
  • Self-medication to cope with problems
  • To fit in or feel part of a group.


Can't find the answer you were looking for?

* Required

Write your question here and one of our experts will respond. We'll need your email address in order to get back to you.


Looking for info about the effects of a specific drug?

Check out the Drug Types page here.

This website uses cookies and third-party services.