Recreational drug use
is the use of psychoactive drugs
purposes rather than for work
purposes, although the distinction is not always clear.
Psychopharmacologist Ronald K. Siegel refers to intoxication as the "fourth drive", arguing that the human instinct to seek mind-altering substances has so much force and persistence that it functions like the human drives for hunger, thirst and shelter.
Responsible drug use
The concept of responsible drug use is that a person can use recreational drugs with reduced or eliminated risk of negatively affecting other parts of one's life or other peoples lives. Advocates of this philosophy point to the many well-known artists and intellectuals who have used drugs, experimentally or otherwise, with few detrimental effects on their lives. Critics argue that the drugs are escapist--and dangerous, unpredictable and sometimes addictive, and have negative and profound effects in geographic areas well beyond the location of the consumer.
Drugs popularly used for recreation
Most Popular Psychoactives
The drugs most popular for recreational use worldwide are:
Other substances often used (street names in italics):
- alprazolam (Xanax), xanies, bars
- bromazepam (Lexotanil)
- chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- clonazepam (Rivotril, Klonopin)
- diazepam (Valium), vals, mommy's little helper
- lorazepam (Temesta, Ativan)
- flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), roofies, roachies, R2, Mexican Valium
- midazolam (Dormicum)
- nimetazepam (Erimin), Fai Chai (happy-5), Godfather, Kai Sing Guo (fruit of happiness)
- nitrazepam (Mogadon), moggies, The Don
- oxazepam (Seresta)
- temazepam (Normison, Restoril), king kong pills, mazzies, jellies, wobbly eggs, knockouts
- nitrous oxide, laughing gas
- dextromethorphan (DXM), dex, dextro, skittles, robo
- ketamine (Ketaset, Ketanest, Ketalar), K, Special K
- phencyclidine (PCP), angel dust
- buprenorphine (Temgesic, Transtec, Subutex), Temies, Subbies
- dextropropoxyphene (Depronal, Darvocet)
- diacetylmorphine (Heroin), smack, junk
- dihydrocodeine (DHC), (DF 118)
- fentanyl (Duragesic, Sublimaze, Actiq)
- hydrocodone (Vicodin), (Lortab)
- hydromorphone (Dilaudid), (Palladon)
- meperidine, or Pethidine (Demerol)
- methadone (Symoron, Methadose)
- morphine (MS Contin, Oramorph, Kapanol)
- nicomorphine (Morzet)
- oxycodone (OxyContin, OxyNorm, Roxicodone), oxies, roxies, hillbilly heroin
- oxymorphone (Opana)
- pentazocine (Fortral)
- tramadol (Ultram, Tramal, Tramagetic)
Phenethylamines, including, but not limited to
For more information see: PiHKAL.
- BZP and other piperazine-based drugs (mCPP, TFMPP)
- cathinone (found in the khat plant)
- cocaine, coke
- crack refers to a freebase, cut form of the substance made for smoking
- dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Adderall), speed, addys
- methamphetamine (Desoxyn), meth, ice
- methcathinone ("cat", chemically related to, but not to be confused with khat/qat/cathinone)
- methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta)
- ephedrine (yellow jackets, mini-thins)
For more information see: TiHKAL.
Drug use over time
Drug use has increased in all categories since prohibition. Since 1937
, 20% to 37% of the youth in the United States have used marijuana. One in four high school seniors have used the drug in the past month; one in ten 8th graders have done so. Between 1972
, the use of cocaine increased more than fivefold. The usage patterns of the current two most prevalent drugs, methamphetamine and ecstasy, have shown similar gains.
A study in Ireland
found that for teenagers aged 15-19:
- 86% drink alcohol (the legal alcohol purchase age and public drinking age is 18, although the drinking age in private is zero).
- 51% binge drink (defined as five drinks or more at occasion) at least once a month.
- 19% binge drink once a week.
- On a typical drinking occasion, the average amount of alcoholic beverages consumed is 5.75 pints.
- The average age for taking a first alcoholic drink is 13½.
- 50% have used illegal drugs at least once.
- 41% have used cannabis at least once.
- The average age of first illegal drug use is 14½.
Dale Pendell, Pharmakodynamis: Stimulating Plants, Potions and Herbcraft: Excitantia and Empathogenica, San Francisco: Mercury House, 2002.
Pharmako/Poeia: Plant Powers, Poisons, and Herbcraft, San Francisco: Mercury House, 1995.