Responsible drug use

From Academic Kids

The concept of responsible drug use is that a person can (for recreational, creative, spiritual, or entheogenic purposes) use a drug without it interfering in other parts of one's life and with no risk of danger to oneself or others. Advocates point to the many well-known artists and intellectuals have used drugs experimentally and, when done in moderation, this use has had few detrimental effects on their lives.

Critics believe that recreational drug use is inherently irresponsible (in that drug use is potentially dangerous, and is illegal in many societies) and that drugs can therefore never be used "responsibly".

The stigmatized concept of a "recreational drug" is not known to some societies. Members of the Rastafari movement, for example, use cannabis in religious rituals and some have no concept of it as a "recreational", much less "party", drug. Finally, some stigmatized and illegal recreational drugs are, in fact, physiologically and psychologically safer than alcohol, which few (in Western societies) have asserted cannot be used responsibly (although, see Prohibition).

The philosophy of responsible drug use—which applies to alcohol, tobacco, and medical products as much as to any other drugs—asserts that to use drugs responsibly one must adhere to the following principles:

  • Understanding and educating oneself on the effects and legality of the drug being consumed
  • Weighing accurate dosages and taking other precautions to reduce the risk of overdose
  • Taking the time to chemically test all drugs being consumed to determine purity and strength
  • Not driving, operating heavy machinery, or otherwise being directly or indirectly responsible for the safety or care of another person while intoxicated
  • Not making irreversible or otherwise important decisions while under the influence
  • Having a trip sitter when taking a drug with which one is not familiar
  • Being honest with others about drug use
  • Not attempting to trick or persuade anyone to use a drug they are not willing to use
  • Not allowing drug use to overshadow other aspects of one's life
  • Using drugs only when appropriate or for special occasions
  • Being morally conscious of the source of their drugs

Some people would still remain adamant that even someone adhering to the above principles would be behaving irresponsibly by taking drugs at all. In particular, the unpredictable, unregulated nature of many illicit drugs carries inherent risks that might not be avoidable, even with great care. Some types of drug are very addictive, and even moderate use may result in an uncontrollable physical need for an increased dosage, with possible concomitant physical and social problems. While some people may be able to use some drugs for many years without serious consequences, others may have an unexpected reaction to the drug, even on first use. A single use of some recreational drugs may cause death or some other violent reaction, including a loss of control that may result in harm to others. Because of the illegal nature of many drugs, quality and potency are difficult to assess, and this may also have an effect on the ability to use recreational drugs safely. The illegality of drugs in itself may also cause social consequences for those using them.

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