Stimulants are the most widely used category of psychoactive drugs in the world.
Some stimulants are found in plants:
- coca shrub (cocaine),
- the tobacco plant (nicotine), and
- the coffee plant (caffeine).
Other stimulants are synthesized in legal or street labs with methamphetamines, diet pills and methylphenidate (Ritalin) being the most common.
Stimulants differ in strength, from chocolate and tea on the mild end of the spectrum to crack cocaine and methamphetamines on the concentrated and powerful end. All stimulants increase the chemical and electrical activity in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Mild or low dose stimulants can boost energy, raise the heart rate and blood pressure, increase respiration, reduce appetite, and subdue thirst and hunger. They can also make an individual more alert, confident, anxious, agitated and aggressive.
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