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To use controlled and other drugs responsibly, a person must adhere to a list of principles. They and others argue that drug users must:
- Understanding and educating oneself on the effects, risks, side effects and legal status of the drug they are taking.
- Measuring accurate dosages, and take other precautions to reduce the risk of overdose when taking drugs where an overdose is possible.
- Taking a small dose first when taking a new drug.
- If possible, chemically testing all drugs before use to determine their purity and strength.
- Attempting to gain the most pure and high-quality drugs laced with no cutting agent at best such as by buying on darknet markets.
- Using drugs only in relaxed and responsible social situations as altered consciousness can be inappropriate in potentially dangerous or unknown settings.
- Avoiding driving, operating heavy machinery, or otherwise situate themselves directly or indirectly responsible for the safety or care of another person while intoxicated and discouraging persons from operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
- Having a trip sitter (or “copilot”) when taking hallucinogenic drugs.
- Using recreational drugs in moderation, setting reasonable limits on the consumption and not allowing drug use to overshadow other aspects of their life (i.e. financial and social responsibilities).
- Taking the smallest dose of a recreational drug that will produce the desired effects.
- Avoiding mixing or combining drugs, especially unknown drugs and drugs with known dangerous interactions.
- Not trusting someone else with the responsibility for your health and safety.
- Knowing basic first-aid techniques and taking responsibility for applying them appropriately in cases of drug emergencies.
- Avoiding the injection of drugs.
- Recognizing that one’s own drug-taking behavior and attitudes in the presence of others will influence others, especially children.
- Abstaining from drug use when inappropriate for reasons of health and physical fitness such as during pregnancy.
- Respecting an individual’s decision concerning drug use.
- Providing alternatives of acceptable social-recreational behaviors within a group for others and avoiding drug use to become the only motivation or focus of the social situation.
- Understanding the individuality of response.
- Being aware of the complex influences of set and setting on psychoactive drug experiences and acting accordingly.
Ethical guidelines include:
- Never tricking or persuade anyone to use a drug.
- Being morally conscious of the source of the drugs that a person is using.