Responsible drug use

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Responsible drug use is the concept that psychoactive substances can be used in a manner that effectively minimizes their risks and harms, while maximizing their benefits.

As an activity, recreational drug use can be viewed in a similar light as other risky-but-beneficial activities, particularly extreme sports such as sailing, skiing, skydiving, surfing, and mountain climbing. More mundanely, it may be compared to driving a car, riding a motorcycle, or flying an airplane. Although these activities carry major risks, it is understood that these risks can be minimized to an acceptable level with proper education and training, and have a net positive impact on the individual and society.

Also called the harm reduction approach, the concept of responsible drug use begins from the premise that recreational substance use is an inherently high-risk activity that unavoidably involves the possibility of serious injury, addiction, and death. Therefore, the most pragmatic strategy an individual can adopt (other than complete abstinence, which may not always be realistic) is to carefully research the risks and take practical steps to reduce and mitigate potential harms.

The philosophy places complete responsibility on the individual to make sure they are doing proper research and taking the necessary precautions in order to avoid negative consequences, all with the overarching understanding that there is no such thing as truly safe or risk-free use and that they are responsible for any consequences that may arise. Advocates 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 sometimes addictive; therefore, responsible drug use is an illusion.

Examples of general harm reduction advice include:

  • Understanding and educating oneself on the effects and legality of the drug being consumed
  • Measuring 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
  • Having a trip sitter when taking a drug with which one is not familiar
  • 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
  • Being morally conscious of the source of one's drugs

This page is dedicated to cataloging information on the various factors that should be considered when experimenting with psychoactive substances. The first section covers general harm reduction practices for all classes of substances while the latter section 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.


State of mind

Bodily state

Trip sitters


Aborting trips

See also

External links


  1. Erowid Psychoactive Vaults: Dose |
  2. How big is a milligram? (Ask Erowid) |
  3. The Importance of Measured Doses by Fire Erowid & Spoon |
  4. American Weigh Scales, Inc Gemini-20 User Manual |
  5. 3-MeO-PCP (Tripsit) |
  6. Liquid Measurement Technique by Zam (Erowid) |
  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.