Responsible drug use

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Responsible drug use is a set of ideas and practices based on the theory that recreational substance use can be done in a healthy and responsible manner by consenting adults. It is related to the concept of harm reduction, which seeks to minimize the risks and potential harms of psychoactive substances while maximizing their benefits and utility.

According to the harm reduction approach, recreational substance use should be understood as an inherently high-risk activity that inevitably involves an elevated risk of addiction, serious 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 the substance's effects and take practical steps to reduce and mitigate potential risks and harms.

As an activity, recreational drug use can 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 be compared to driving a car, riding a motorcycle, or flying in an airplane. While these activities carry substantial risks, including death, it is widely understood that these risks can be minimized to an acceptable level with proper education and training, resulting in a net positive impact on the individual and society. In a modern context, these activities may be viewed as an inalienable expression of an individual's freedom, self-determination, and dignity.

The philosophy underlying responsible drug use is relatively radical in that it places absolute responsibility on the user to conduct proper research and take the necessary safety precautions. This is accompanied with the understanding that there is no such thing as truly "safe" use (only "safer" use) and that individuals are ultimately responsible for the outcomes of their decisions. 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:

  • 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
  • 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 substances 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 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.


Set (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.