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By drug: alcohol - amphetamines (speed) - cocaine - ecstasy - hashish - heroin - LSD - magic mushrooms - opium - poppers - pot - smoking

By medium: drugs in film - drugs in history - drugs in literature - drugs in music

Related: addiction - consciousness - medicine - mind - prohibition - psychedelic

Sleeve of recording by reggae artist Linval Thompson

Skull with a Cigarette (1886) - Vincent van Gogh

Recreational drug use

Recreational drug use is the use of psychoactive drugs for recreational rather than medical or spiritual purposes, although the distinction is not always clear. Regardless of medical supervision, this label does not apply to the use of drugs for utilitarian purposes, such as the relief of fatigue or insomnia, or the control of appetite.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recreational_drug_use [Sept 2004]


A psychoactive drug or psychotropic substance is a chemical that alters brain function, resulting in temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness, or behavior. Such drugs are often used in recreational drug use and as entheogens for spiritual purposes, as well as in medication, especially for treating neurological and psychological illnesses.

Many of these substances (especially the stimulants and depressants) can be habit-forming, causing chemical dependency and often leading to substance abuse. Conversely, others (namely the psychedelics) can help to treat and even cure such addictions. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoactive_drug [Mar 2006]

Drug subcultures

Drug subcultures are examples of countercultures, primarily defined by recreational drug use.

Drug subcultures may be seen as groups of people loosely united by a common understanding of the meaning and value (good or otherwise) of the incorporation into life of the drug in question. Such unity can take many forms, from friends who take the drug together, possibly obeying certain rules of etiquette, to full-scale political movements for the reform of drug laws. The sum of these parts can be considered an individual drug's "culture".

It should be noted that there are multiple drug subcultures based on the use of different drugs - the culture surrounding cannabis, for example, is very different from that of heroin, due to the different sort of experiences and problems the drugs cause. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_subculture [Feb 2005]

External links

Hole in the Head:
Early in 1965, I heard of someone who had drilled a hole in his head to get a permanently high {sic}. I put it down as another crankish idea and didn't think much about it. Later that year I went to Ibiza, looking for mescalin or LSD. I knew a few people who had taken acid and said it was even greater than mescalin [...] -- Joe Mellen, Other Scenes magazine, November 1970

  • http://www.noah.org/trepan/hole_in_the_head.html
  • http://www.noah.org/trepan/photos
  • http://www.erowid.org/psychoactives/psychoactives.shtml PIKHAL, Phenethylamines i Have Known And Loved By Alexander Shulgin and Ann Shulgin

    The Pursuit of Oblivion: A Global History of Narcotics (2001) - Richard Davenport-Hines

    The Pursuit of Oblivion: A Global History of Narcotics (2001) - Richard Davenport-Hines [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    From Publishers Weekly
    Davenport-Hines offers a sharply opinionated history of drugs structured around three major premises: Human beings use drugs; for many that choice will be debilitating, sometimes fatal; and government prohibition of drugs, as opposed to regulation, is counterproductive and doomed to vainglorious failure. Davenport-Hines, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and author of a well-received work on W.H. Auden, builds his case with a body of evidence encyclopedic in scope and varied in perspective. He explores the effects of drugs on families and private lives, for example, by sampling diaries of ordinary citizens, the writings of literary figures as diverse as Balzac and Ken Kesey, the theories of notorious cult-leader Timothy Leary, and the reports of a host of journalists. He is equally focused on exposing the high public costs that, he argues, have resulted from governments' treatment of drugs (both in American and elsewhere) as a criminal rather than medical problem a choice that, the author says, is a product of political demagoguery rather than honest conviction. To give credence to his charges, he quotes the inflammatory words of presidents, drug czars, and moralist such as William Bennett. U.S. policymakers exported this punitive approach to Europe and Latin America, which he deems a form of cultural imperialism. Davenport-Hines also finds hypocrisy in government support for pharmaceutical companies, whose advertising and marketing contribute to the cultural acceptance of drugs. He takes care to provide readers with useful information about the effects of both legal and illegal drugs, and to carefully discriminate among the relative dangers of different classes of drugs. The effort adds credibility to his strong writing, and his well-documented positions will be difficult to dismiss. --Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. via Amazon.com

    From Library Journal
    Prominent British historian/journalist Davenport-Hines here offers a thorough and exhaustive history of addictive drugs and their abuse, spanning the globe and covering all eras for which there exists documented evidence of such activity, primarily from the 18th century forward. The author's approach is that of a historian at work, carefully detailing all known verifiable references to the insidious development of, trade in, and use/abuse of narcotics and other addictive substances. In addition to a thorough discourse on the manufacture and abuse of derivative drugs such as cocaine and heroin, Davenport-Hines also goes into great detail about naturally occurring herbs and weeds that have been abused over the centuries. He pays considerable attention to attempts by governments and world bodies to come to grips with the social, economic, and political ramifications of the drug trade and its side effects, such as organized crime, loss of government revenue, decreased productivity, and strains on healthcare infrastructures. The reluctance or inability of several powerful Western nations to suppress the popular appetite for drugs (only recently considered inappropriate) is cited as perhaps the greatest impediment to reform. Society's attempts over the years to treat and rehabilitate the victims of drug abuse are also documented. This comprehensive study is replete with references to primary and secondary sources. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries. Philip Y. Blue, New York State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Lib., First Judicial District, New York via Amazon.com

    see also: drugs - addiction

    Artificial Paradises: A Drugs Reader () - Mike Jay

  • Artificial Paradises: A Drugs Reader () - Mike Jay [Amazon.com]
    Times change--who would have thought that we'd ever see a nonjudgmental mainstream anthology of writings about mind-altering drugs? Editor Mike Jay delivers scores of well-selected hits of wild wisdom from Homer and his cronies to William Burroughs in Artificial Paradises. His mild-mannered but insightful introductions and links between pieces prime the reader for a series of expansive trips through other people's minds as they grapple with medical, moral, artistic, and spiritual puzzlers posed by drugs. Hopped-up coke fiend Sigmund Freud rants about his favorite little helper, while painter Henri Michaux complains that mescaline is a poor muse. The pieces are usually amusing and sometimes penetrating. Jay wisely avoids most of the propaganda we've already been oversubjected to in recent decades, instead focusing on the experience and assessment of drugs and their cultural value. Sections include Researches Chemical and Philosophical: Drugs and Science and The Algebra of Need: Drugs and Addiction, with selections from such disparate writers as Jean Cocteau and Thomas Szasz. Most of the pieces are very short--one or two pages--but highly concentrated, giving an immediate sense of the author's intent and attitudes, often inspiring a trip to the library for another dose. When it's time to turn on, tune in, and drop out, prepare yourself with the guidance of Artificial Paradises. --Rob Lightner for amazon.com

    Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible (2001) - Chris Bennett, Neil McQueen

    Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible (2001) - Chris Bennett, Neil McQueen [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    This book is a wonderfully fresh look at the Bible for the religious and non-religious alike. If you're religious you'll probably be offended at first by much of the author's research, but give it an honest read anyway. The worst that could happen is that you come away with greater insight into how the non-religious view your scriptures. I found the book refreshing and challenging; it caused me to fall in love with the Bible at last because for the first time I was able to read it with some historical and archaeological context rather than simply being expected to accept it as sacred because others have believed it to be so for thousands of years.

    Read in the context of an emerging tribal culture struggling with the concerns of their time: life, death, food, fertility, war, dominating and avoiding the domination of often more technologically advanced neighboring cultures. This book gave me an appreciation for these ancient peoples without having to accept as divine the horrific treatment they

    Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market (1992) - Thomas Stephen Szasz

    Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market (1992) - Thomas Stephen Szasz [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    From Publishers Weekly
    The "war on drugs," charges Szasz, is a hypocritical moral crusade, a pretext for strengthening the state and scapegoating deviants. It is also racist, he asserts, pointing out that blacks are arrested on drug charges at a rate far out of proportion to their drug use. In a hard-hitting, controversial polemic, the well-known critic of psychiatry ( The Myth of Mental Illness ) advocates a free market in drugs, both for pharmaceutical medicines (including opiates) and for substances like heroin and marijuana. Szasz believes that state-sanctioned coercions to protect people from their own vices are futile and violate our fundamental rights. Futher, he maintains that labeling drug abuse as illness medicalizes a social problem and helps turn drug abusers into lifelong patients. In his blueprint for decriminalization, states could ground motorists whose driving ability is endangered by drug use; he also supports compulsory drug testing in occupations where a worker's impairment jeopardizes public safety. --Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc--via Amazon.com

    Product Description:
    "My aim" states Szasz, "is to mount a critique of our current drug laws and social policies, based on the fundamental premise that a limited government, epitomized by the U.S., lacks the political legitimacy to deprive competent adults of the right to ingest, inhale, or inject whatever substance they want. . . In summary my argument is that the constraints on the power of the federal government, laid down in the Constitution, have been eroded by a monopolistic medical profession administering a system of prescription laws that, in effect, have removed most of the drugs people want from the free market. Hence, it is futile to debate whether the War on Drugs should be escalated or de-escalated, without first coming to grips with the popular and political mindset concerning the trade in drugs generated by nearly a century of drug prohibitions."--via Amazon.com

    Dr. Thomas Stephen Szasz (born April 15, 1920 in Hungary) is Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, New York.

    He is a prolific author and speaker, probably most well known for his books The Myth of Mental Illness and The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement which set out some of the arguments with which he is most associated.

    These stem from classical liberal roots (notably the work of philosopher John Stuart Mill) which are based on the principles that each person has the right to bodily and mental self ownership and the right to be free from violence from others. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Szasz [Feb 2005]

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