Prevalence of psychostimulant use is high, and raising in several countries. Nicotine is the legal stimulant causing the most important public health impact. Cocaine ranks among the most used illicit substances after cannabis. Stimulant medications are frequently misused. Psychostimulants can lead to addiction, have physical, psychological and social health consequences and can induce a great disease burden. The aim of the present article is to provide a literature review on the health effects of stimulants as potential drugs of abuse. It will cover essentially cocaine, amphetamines and its derivatives (including methamphetamines and 3-4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, ecstasy), nicotine, caffeine and khat, and touch upon the issues of prescribed substances (anti-depressants, weight control medications, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder medications, hypersomniac disorder). Their pharmacology, addictive potential, health consequences and treatment will be discussed. We used Medline for the literature review from 1990 to the date of this review, and mention the findings of human and animal studies (the latter only if they are of clinical relevance).