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Why do people take drugs? Is it to be cool? sometimes. For entertainment? sometimes. Is it to try something new? sometimes. Is it to benefit from the experience and learn more about yourself? sometimes.
I personally, am the latter. I don’t understand why anyone would want to do anything just to be cool. If you are that desperate for credibility, I suggest you stay well away from drugs.
If you take drugs to experiment, beware of it leading to addiction, no matter how disciplined you may be, try something once, reflect on the experience, learn from it then move on.
If you are scared of side effects or just plain getting the wrong substance, or worried about other substances included with the drug, educate yourself.
If you find a list of 20 or so side effects, usually dizziness, headaches, stomach ache etc, it does not necessarily mean you will get all of these effects, and even if you do, it may be incredibly mild.
Just look at the side affects of codeine -

drowsiness, light-headedness, dry mouth, urinary retention (difficulty in urination) and constipation. Adverse effects can include itchiness (common), confusion, nausea and vomiting.

Now if you read that list of side effects and didn’t know it was codeine, what would you think of the drug? Does it sound like something you would willing ingest to relieve a headache? Sounds like a big cost for one measly headache.

I do agree, drugs are bad for you, there’s no denying that, even the drugs that the doctor prescribes to you can be bad for your physical and mental health. But we are raised to believe that taking drugs is equivalent to sucking the devils dick, and we avoid doing so out of reinforced fear. There are many people with uninformed opinions on drugs, and will voice their opinions believing them to be true because their teacher told them so in primary school. Of course this early reinforcement can sometimes backfire and some people do take drugs to be rebellious or ‘cool’. These kind of people obviously take drugs for the wrong reasons and will be irresponsible when it comes to looking after themselves.

Just because something is illegal, doesn’t mean it will kill you. Marijuana has recently been decriminalized in the state of Queensland anyway, for under 50 grams you get one day of rehabilitation. Many non-users of marijuana protest against its use, despite never giving it a fair chance, a lot of them base their knowledge off myths that were taught to them when they were young. But the funny thing is, these same people will go out and drink every weekend, when it is a known fact that alcohol is more damaging - physically and mentally, long term and short term than marijuana. If you declare yourself as a non-user of any drug, you must also include alcohol, on the scale of drugs, alcohol is not as close to the bottom as you may think.

Drug overdose are very common and are in fact most common on a full moon (eerie isn’t it?). But most of these people were either not educated, not thinking or just plain too reckless to care and abused the drug. But believe it or not, there is such a thing as sensible drug use. Just because someone tries many different drugs does not make them irresponsible.

Educate yourself! erowid.org is a vast source of information on drugs. Check for things such as what the regular dosage is, check how it mixes with other drugs you might also be on at the time. Educating yourself will ensure your own safety. There are far too many stupid people that take above the recommended dosage, or get the drugs from a dodgy source. Take magic mushrooms for example, plenty of people in the past have gotten very ill or died from eating poisonous mushrooms. I’m willing to bet that these people failed to educate themselves on which mushrooms to choose since they believe what some friend told them is good enough. If you take drugs and have some intelligence and sense of responsibility, you will know to take only the recommended dosage, from a reliable source, in the proper environment, in the correct conditions.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have our clean cut, non-drug user, but that’s nothing to hold against them. However, many non-users claim to ‘know better’ and make statements such as “I don’t need drugs to be cool” or “I don’t need anything to feel better about myself, or to release me from my worries”. They must understand however, those things are not the only purpose of drugs. Taking drugs are usually a very positive experience; of course, sometimes it can be a little TOO good and may lead to addiction (sometimes it can be very bad and may lead to death). But by acting responsible and intelligent, (possibly some will power, depending on how hard the drug is) that won’t happen. Anybody who has tried the very addictive hard drugs such as cocaine or heroin usually had no idea the harm they were inflicting on themselves until it was too late, once again, if they were educated on the drug and had some sensibility, their addiction may have been avoided. But there are many, many different drugs, all with varying effects. Some drugs may provide you with a positive spiritual experience (such as dissociatives), some may provide you with a positive mental experience (such as psychedelics). Some you may take for a good time, such as alcohol, LSD or amphetamines. Some can help you relax or relieve pain such as marijuana, valium or paracetamol. But some drugs will attack your mental health, such as LSD, anti-psychotics, datura. And of course some drugs will attack your physical health, such as alcohol or caffeine. Every drug offers a different experience, I want to try many of them, I have educated myself and evaluated all the risks involved on every drug before I have taken it, I have already tried many drugs and do not regret doing so, the only addictions I have are nicotine and caffeine. I have learnt directly from people their experiences on certain drugs, and not based my decisions on some myth that has been around for 30 years.

I’m not saying everyone should take drugs, what I really mean by all of this is, be sensible and you won’t get burnt. There ARE legitimate reasons why someone would want to take certain drugs. Keep an open mind and don’t think less of somebody just because they have used drugs. Using a drug isn’t automatically lowering yourself, however many drug abusers do do low acts to get their next hit. But don’t confuse a user with an abuser.