Responsible drug use

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Responsible drug use is a set of diverse ideas and practices based on the premise that recreational substances can be used in a healthy and responsible manner by consenting adult individuals. It is closely related to the concept of harm reduction, which seeks to minimize the risks and hazards of psychoactive substances while maximizing their benefits via education and training.

According to the harm reduction approach, recreational substance use is first-and-foremost to be understood as a high-risk activity that inherently involves the risk of addiction, serious bodily injury, and death. Therefore, the most pragmatic strategy an individual can adopt — other than complete abstinence, which may not always be realistic or desirable — is to carefully research each substance and take practical steps to reduce the risks and harms associated with using it, until the benefits outweigh the cost.

Recreational drug use may be viewed in a similar light as other risky-but-enriching activities, particularly extreme sports such as sailing, skiing, skydiving, surfing, and mountain climbing. More mundanely, it may also be compared to driving a car, riding a motorcycle, or flying in an airplane.

While these activities carry substantial risks (including death), it is nevertheless widely understood that these risks can be minimized to an acceptable level with proper education and training. Depending on the cultural context, the ability to participate in these activities may be viewed as an inalienable expression of one's freedom, self-determination, and dignity.

The philosophy underlying responsible drug use can be described as relatively radical in that it places absolute responsibility on the individual to conduct proper research and take the necessary safety precautions. This is accompanied by the understanding that there is no such thing as truly "safe" use, only safe(r) use, and that individuals are ultimately responsible for the outcomes of their choices, whether it is health-related, financial, or otherwise.

Advocates of responsible drug use 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 drugs are escapist, dangerous, unpredictable, and often addictive; therefore, responsible drug use is an illusion.

Examples of general harm reduction advice include:

  • Educating oneself on the effects and legality of the substance being consumed
  • Measuring accurate dosages and taking other precautions to reduce the risk of overdose
  • Taking the time to chemically test all substances being consumed to determine purity and strength
  • Do not swim.
  • Not driving, operating heavy machinery, or otherwise being directly or indirectly responsible for the safety or care of another person while intoxicated
  • Avoid recreational drunk dialing, emailing, etc, that may lead to socially negative consequences.
  • Having a trip sitter when taking a substance with which one is not familiar
  • Not attempting to trick or persuade anyone to use a substance they are not willing to use
  • Not allowing substance use to overshadow other aspects of one's life or responsibilities
  • Being morally conscious of the source of one's substances

This page is dedicated to providing information about the various factors that should be considered when experimenting with or regularly using psychoactive substances. The first section covers general harm reduction practices for all substance classes while the latter is specific to hallucinogens.



Routes of administration

Recovery position

Reagent testing kits

Dangerous combinations




The information below is exclusively tailored for the use and experimentation with hallucinogens such as psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants.


Set (State of mind)

Bodily state

Trip sitters


Aborting trips

See also

External links


  1. Erowid Psychoactive Vaults : Dose 
  2. Ask Erowid : ID 2282 : How big is a milligram? 
  3. Erowid Psychoactives Vault : Basics: The Importance of Measured Doses 
  4. American Weigh Scales, Inc Gemini-20 User Manual |
  5. 3-MeO-PCP - TripSit wiki 
  6. Erowid Psychoactive Vaults : Liquid Measurement Technique 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Erowid. "25I-NBOMe (2C-I-NBOMe) Fatalities / Deaths". Drug Website. Erowid. Retrieved February 28, 2016. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hastings, Deborah (May 6, 2013). "New drug N-bomb hits the street, terrifying parents, troubling cops". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Feehan, Conor (January 21, 2016). "Powerful N-Bomb drug - responsible for spate of deaths internationally - responsible for hospitalisation of six in Cork". Irish Independent. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Iversen, Les (May 29, 2013). "Temporary Class Drug Order Report on 5-6APB and NBOMe compounds" (PDF). Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Gov.Uk. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Iversen, Les (May 29, 2013). "Temporary Class Drug Order Report on 5-6APB and NBOMe compounds" (PDF). Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Gov.Uk. p. 14. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  12. Sharing Drug “Snorting Straws” Spreads Hepatitis C, 2016