Home > The Complex Nature of Abused Substances and Getting Help for Addiction > Recreational Drug Use
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.
Many people who have a drug dependency issue may have begun to use drugs in a casual or social manner. However, because of the addictive nature of the drugs, the casual or social user can easily fall into a pattern of addiction. They may begin to take drugs in a binge, use a number of different drugs at the same time or even take drugs on their own. They may begin to seek out the drug at times when it is not just for fun, they may begin lying to people to cover up their obsession, lose or gain weight, skip work or engage in risky activities all for the sake of drugs.
Some drug use is associated with recreational settings or for specific lifestyles. Workplaces such as restaurant and hospitality, truck drivers and high pressure jobs can encourage and support the use of drugs. Methamphetamine have been long used in some industries as a way to get workers to perform on long shifts. Cocaine is often used in finance and media industries as a way to broker deals. Marijuana and ecstasy is often used at college parties. Some people feel pressured by family or friends to participate in taking drugs in certain situations to fit in or to not be left out.
When drugs are the norm in a group of friends of family, there is some level of concern about the repercussions or opinions that other people will have of the non-user. A significant number of people who are in society suffer from personal problems, anxiety, stress, mental health problems or poor coping skills. Introducing drugs to these people can lead to tragic outcomes such as long term, chronic drug use. It should also be remembered that regardless of what is the norm, illicit drugs are illegal and the long term societal, physical and mental impact the drugs can have outweigh any of the positives. Social or recreational drug use can have negative effects on a person. Drugs use can turn anti-social, and expensive and debilitating abuse is common. Individuals may experience a lack of concentration, lose sleep and experience weight gain or weight loss. There is also the fact that not everyone approves of drug use and the repercussions could cost someone friendships or a job. People who indulge in drug use risk getting caught by the police, which can have very serious fines or even jail time associated with it.
Using drugs for any purpose can have inherent risks, but individuals often incorrectly believe that social use of illicit substances is safer. This is not the case. Even or sometimes because of social situations, many people will engage in high risk behaviors, binge on drugs and alcohol and take multiple types of drugs at the same time. Combing drugs can have very serious effects, including death. Using drugs such as GHB and alcohol at the same time can lead to respiratory failure. Drinking alcohol and using prescription medications like Xanax can cause users to black out and they may be at risk of injury, engaging in unsafe sex or other dangerous activities without full awareness. Ecstasy has been linked deaths due to health complications such as overheating, dehydration or water intoxication.
Ecstasy has almost always been associated with dance music. The rise in popularity of dance music culture has been directly linked to the increase in use of ecstasy Events, night clubs, festivals and raves all centered around the use of drugs and the creation of events that increase the experience of taking ecstasy. Individuals who associate with this cultural group often party for extended lengths of time, and binge on alcohol and drugs. They may continue to hold down jobs or attend university while they participate in these activities, but the consequences can be damaging and are not sustainable.
Recreational users of ecstasy believe that they are not addicts, that they are not dependent on taking the drug. Ecstasy has been promoted and packaged to users as an easy-to-take drug that is harmless, doesn’t turn users into addicts, doesn’t make people violent, and users don’t commit crimes or die from using the drug. Another popular image is that people who take ecstasy don’t look like addicts, they don’t shoot up, they don’t get drug-related diseases. The reality, however, is that ecstasy isn’t a safe, legal drug. It is an illicit substance that can have harmful or dire effects. Users do take risks, they can get sick and they can cause harm to themselves and others. Another important issue associated with ecstasy is that it is often made with a number of different chemicals or is actually made up of harmful or addictive drugs like PCP or methamphetamine.
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