drug use

Recreational drug use

Recreational drug use is the use of psychoactive drugs for recreational purposes rather than for work, medical or spiritual 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 Psychoactives

Other substances often used (street names in italics):
Barbiturates, including

Benzodiazepines, including

Nonbenzodiazepines, including

Deliriants, including

Dissociative anaesthetics, including

Opium (Papaver somniferum) and opioids, including

Phenethylamines, including, but not limited to

For more information see: PiHKAL.

Stimulants, including

Indole alkaloids, including, but not limited to

For more information see: TiHKAL.

Inhalants, including


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 and 1988, 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.

See also



  • 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.
  • External links

    Search another word or see drug useon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
    Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
    • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature