The only thing illegal drugs improve are your chances of dying behind the wheel.

Some drugs give you the feeling of being more focused and alert. In reality, they impair your thinking in ways you don’t immediately notice. The effects on your brain and body can be extremely dangerous when driving.

While there are many sensations caused by illicit drugs, they have two main effects on the nervous system. Drugs either slow down your nerve responses or speed them up.

Suppressors, sedatives or downers are drugs that inhibit the nervous system. They include barbiturates, tranquilizers and opiates such as heroin. Enhancers, stimulants or uppers are drugs that excite the nervous system. Drugs that speed up the mind and body include cocaine, speed (amphetamines), and ecstasy (MDMA). Drugs that solely speed up the mind include substances like acid and PCP.


Compared with many prescription drugs, illicit drugs have a higher potential for abuse. After a single use, illicit drug users can begin forming physical and psychological dependence, as well as a lowered tolerance. These factors can lead to addiction and a pattern of dangerous behaviors. If you or someone you know is currently struggling with illicit drug abuse, consider contacting a rehabilitation center or searching for resources online.


Most importantly, if you are under the influence of illicit drugs, do not drive.


SOURCE: Wanberg, Kenneth C., Milkman, Harvey B., Timken, David S. (2005). Driving with Care: Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Driving Safety Education-Strategies for Responsible Living. Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage Publications, Inc.