Home > The Complex Nature of Abused Substances and Getting Help for Addiction > Experimental Drug Use
Experimental drug use is the first stage of substances use. It is the time when a person will begin to explore what drugs are, what reaction they have to them and also the social aspects of drug use. This curiosity is usually relatively safe. In most cases people will be cautious about the substances they take, who they are with, how much they will take and what they are doing.
Dangers arise through experimenting with drugs when individuals combine substances, go on drug binges or engage in high risk activities such as unsafe sex. Inexperience and naivete can lead to many dangers. Individuals considering experimenting with drugs should research the safest ways to take them and take precautions to reduce the risks of harm.
Teenagers and young adults will typically participate in experimental drug use as a way to fit in with other people, develop their social group and to see what the fuss is all about. This experimentation can be harmless, but it can also lead to long lasting consequences. Impeding brain development, unwanted pregnancy, social anxieties and health problems can all be the result of experimentation that turns out badly. Additionally, the risk of developing serious substance addiction can lead to long term health problems and family dysfunction.
Recreational drug use is the social or casual use of a drug. Typically, users who indulge in this kind of drug use do so to create or enhance an experience. This experience may be a music event, a social event or simply going to a bar or nightclub. Recreational drug use may also be done by an individual by themselves, outside of a social event. Recreational drug use is not determined by a type of drug. Pharmaceutical drugs, opiates, cannabis, psychedelic or club drugs all can be used in a way that is casual, but this does not mean that the risks associated with the drug is any less. Recreational drug use may increase the risk of overdose or serious health complications because many people will binge or use multiple drugs at the same time.
Experimental drug use is usually limited to drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy, amphetamines, psychedelic drugs and more recently, research chemicals. Although the dangers of other drugs are well known, research chemicals pose many unknown risks especially when taken in combination with other drugs or alcohol.
Research chemicals are experimental chemicals that have been designed to mimic the effects of other drugs such as MDMA, amphetamines, cannabis or psychedelic drugs. These drugs are sometimes called Legal Highs but this does not indicate that they are safe or even legal in some cases. These drugs are described as research chemicals because they are new substances that have very little information about them regarding their effects. Toxicity is often unknown and information about the experience these drugs give a user are usually based on small human studies.
Research chemicals are sold legally over the internet on various websites, often without requiring proof of age. This means that people experimenting with drugs can easily acquire these drugs which can pose serious risks to a persons health. The risks of taking research chemicals is potentially greater than taking other illicit substances. This is because these drugs have very little information about interactions, reactions, toxicity, effect or health consequences. Additionally, harm minimization information is most likely unknown so people are unable to take the necessary precautions.
Experimenting with drugs often will lead a person to combine substances. When drugs are taken in combination, the effects are varied and unknown. Some combinations can increase the euphoria and stimulative effects of the drugs, other combinations can cause people to become violently ill and require hospitalization. Certain drugs react badly with alcohol such as GHB and ketamine which are unfortunately drugs that people may experiment with when they are under the influence of alcohol. In some instances, individuals take illicit drugs in combination in order to increase the effects of the drugs they are consuming. Examples of this include candy-flipping which is combining ecstasy and LSD and snowcones or snowcaps are marijuana and heroin, cocaine or amphetamines combined. Users take drugs in this way to have a more powerful experience but they also increase the risk of serious complications.
Safe drug use is one factor that should always be considered when experimenting with drugs. When a person is armed with accurate information and knowledge about a drug they can make an informed decision about whether to take a substance or not, how it should be taken in the safest way and what can be done in an emergency. For inexperienced drug users, this information can make the world of difference to the choices that a person makes.
There are many websites that are devoted to this type of harm reduction information. Erowid and DanceSafe are two excellent websites that provide unbiased information regarding the safe use of all types of substances. Both websites aim to give the most accurate information regarding drugs of all varieties to ensure the health and safety of users, families and communities is maintained.
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