It's not hard to find drugs, and sometimes it may seem like everyone's doing them — or wanting you to do them. But as with anything that seems too good to be true, there are downsides (and dangers) to taking drugs. How Drugs Work Drugs are chemicals or substances that change the way our bodies work. Some are medicines that help people when doctors prescribe them. Many have no medical use or benefits. When taken (usually by swallowing, inhaling, or injecting), abused drugs find their way into the bloodstream. From there, they move to the brain and other parts of the body. In the brain, drugs may intensify or dull the senses, change how alert or sleepy people feel, and sometimes decrease physical pain. Because of the way these drugs work on the brain, they affect the ability to make healthy choices and decisions. Even drinking makes people more likely to get involved in dangerous situations, like driving under the influence or having unprotected sex. Although substances can feel good at first, they can do a lot of harm to the body and brain. Drinking alcohol, smoking or using tobacco, taking illegal drugs, even sniffing glue all damage the human body. Commonly abused drugs include: alcohol amphetamines bath salts cocaine and crack cough and cold medicines (DXM) depressants GHB heroin inhalants ketamine LSD MDMA/Ecstasy marijuana methamphetamine ("meth") mushrooms PCP prescription pain relievers (opioids) Rohypnol salvia Getting Help If you think you — or a friend — may be addicted to drugs, talk to a parent, your doctor, school counselor, or nurse. They can help you get the help you need. Several kinds of treatment are available for drug addiction. The two main types are behavioral (helping a person change behaviors) and pharmacological (treating a person by using medicine). Experts in drug treatment teach people how to live without drugs — dealing with cravings, avoiding situations that could lead to drug use, and preventing and handling relapses. It can be hard to overcome drug addiction without professional help and treatment. It takes time and isn't something that can be done alone — everyone needs support. Experts who help people with addictions are trained to help, not judge. To find a drug treatment center in your area, search online, check out the SAMHSA Treatment Locator, or ask a doctor or counselor for advice. Back to Articles Related Articles Dealing With Addiction Find out what you can do if you think you or a friend has a drug or alcohol addiction - from recognizing the warning signs to suggestions to help you stay clean. Read More Prescription Drug Abuse There are many downsides to experimenting with prescription drugs. Find out more in this article for teens. Read More Study Drugs Some people use certain medicines without a prescription because they think these meds help with focus and concentration. If you've heard of "study drugs" and wonder if there are any risks, find out in this article for teens. Read More Binge Drinking The definition of binge drinking in the United States is the consumption of five or more drinks in a row by men – or four or more drinks in a row by women – at least once in the previous two weeks. Surprised? Find out more. Read More Coping When a Parent Has an Alcohol or Drug Problem Alcoholism causes anguish not only for the person who drinks, but for everyone who is involved with that person. But there are things you can do to help cope with the problems alcoholism creates in families. Read More Understanding Medicines and What They Do Medicines can cure, stop, or prevent disease; ease symptoms; or help in the diagnosis of illnesses. This article describes different types of medications and offers tips on taking them. Read More Date Rape About half of people who have been raped know the person who attacked them. This article explains what date rape is, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you've been raped. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.