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By using illicit drugs, you can seriously impair the way your mind and body function. For motor sport participants, this can have a major impact on your performance and even puts the health and wellbeing of others, including the public, at risk. Away from the track, illicit drug use can seriously damage your personal life including work and relationships. 

Some of the things that you are risking by using illicit drugs include:

• your health, both mental and physical

• the health and safety of other competitors, officials and even the public 

• your own reputation, that of your car club and that of CAMS

• your motor sport career aspirations

• your sponsorship deals

• the respect of your peers, family, friends and the broader motor sport community.

Anyone that uses illicit drugs can become addicted. Once addicted, people continue to use them even when they know it is causing them problems. Without realising it, illicit drugs can become a central focus in a person’s life and can affect their personal relationships, sporting performance, ability to study and work, and general quality of life.

Illicit drug use is more than a breach of a CAMS policy or a sporting code of conduct – it could result in a criminal record, unwanted media attention toward you and your family, or worse.


If you think you have a problem with drugs, or know someone else who may have one, the first step is to start talking. Talk to a counsellor, a health professional or someone else that you can trust such as a friend or family member. CAMS is also available to help put you in contact with someone who can offer help.

For more information about illicit drugs or to get help contact:  1800 250 015 (free call) or visit


Remember, the best way to protect yourself and others from the dangers of illicit drug use is to decide not to use them and prepare yourself with strategies to support this decision, for example:

  •  Reduce the risk of being exposed to or associated with illicit drugs:

Consider your attendance at parties or clubs where illicit drugs might be present

Avoid alcohol, as excessive alcohol consumption can reduce inhibitions and increase the likelihood of making poor decisions.

  • Decide what you will do if you’re offered illicit drugs:

“No thanks”

Keep yourself busy – dance, mingle etc

Stay away from people who you think are likely to use or offer you illicit drugs

Go out with people that you know and trust.

Do you know what you would say if another motor sport participant told you that they’re using illicit drugs? They may be confiding in you because they want or need help.  Decide what you will say to them. Know how you can support them to get the help they need.


Illicit drugs fall into three categories: ‘stimulants’, ‘depressants’ and ‘hallucinogens’.


Stimulants increase your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and metabolism by stimulating the body’s central nervous system. For motor sport participants, this can be dangerous when you’re driving or officiating as stimulants can generate irregular heartbeat and even cause physical collapse.  

Examples of stimulant-type illicit drugs include cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamines (including speed). Using stimulants can:

• Increase nervousness and irritability, making it hard to concentrate when you’re behind the wheel (driving or navigating) or officiating

• Distort your judgment and perception

• Cause headaches, stomach cramps, blurred vision and dizziness

• Cause agitation, anxiety, panic, aggression and paranoia

• Disturb your sleep including causing insomnia

• Increase your body temperature, heart rate, sweating and lactic acid production

• Cause seizures and heart failure

• Suppress your appetite which in turn affects your energy levels and ability to recover and refuel optimally following competition

• Impair your memory, and

• Result in the development of psychological problems.


Depressants slow down the central nervous system and the messages going between the brain and the body. Critical aspects of motor sport participation including concentration, coordination and response time are all negatively affected by depressants. The central nervous system also controls the body’s response to temperature, thirst and hunger.  

Examples of depressant-type illicit drugs include cannabis, GHB and opioids like heroin. Using depressants can:

• Slow your decision making and response time

• Impair your balance and coordination

• Increase dehydration

• Increase your appetite which affects body fat levels and weight management, and

• Decrease the likelihood of carrying out appropriate recovery strategies.


Hallucinogens can have a powerful impact on your perception, affecting all of your senses and resulting in erratic behaviour. They alter a person’s thinking, sense of time and management of emotions.

Examples of hallucinogen-type illicit drugs include LSD and magic mushrooms. Using hallucinogens can:

• Increase your breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature

• Suppress your appetite which in turn affects your energy levels and ability to recover and refuel optimally following competition

• Slow your central nervous system, which dulls the senses, reduces coordination and affects physical response time

• Blur your vision and cause dizziness

• Disorganise your thoughts and distort sensory processing, which can cause hallucinations and confusion

• Cause stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting

• Increase mood fluctuations including depression, anxiety, agitation and panic, and

• In large doses, cause convulsion and coma, and result in heart and lung failure.