Symptoms

The use of illegal drugs involves many long- and short-term risks. Do not endanger your health: do not use illegal drugs! If, however, you do in fact use illegal drugs, it is advisable to be supported or accompanied by some other person who can call the emergency services in the case of sudden severe illness.

How do the drugs work?

The drugs work on the central nervous system (the brain) and the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. 

These neurotransmitters which are naturally present in the brain have an effect on perception, on emotions and on behaviour but also on appetite, sleep, memory, motricity, heart rhythm, etc. 

Drugs cause an abnormal functioning of  the neurotransmitters. In the long term, the brain can suffer from imbalances which result in psychic disorders.

N.B.! Individuals react differently to drugs according to their psychological state, their health, their environment and the quality and quantity of the drugs consumed. Mixtures of different drugs (alcohol, cigarettes, medications etc.) increase the risks.  

The table below classifies the main illegal drugs according to their origin and effects.

Illegal drugs Stimulants Hallucinogens Tranquilizers
Natural Khat

Hallucinogenic mushrooms (Psilocybe)

Hallucinogenic cactus (mescaline, peyote)

Salvia Divinorum (family of sage of the diviners)

Ayahuasca

Cannabis

 
Semi-synthetic

Cocaine

Crack

LSD Heroin
Synthetic

Amphetamines

MDMA, ecstasy

Ketamine, PCP

GHB
NSP (e. g. PMA, PMMA, MDA, MDEA, MEA)

 

Sciensano collects data and analyses the consumption of drugs, the drug market, the consequences for health, requests for treatment and the policies implemented with regard to drugs in Belgium.

QR code

QR code for this page URL