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Casual Drug Use: Do You Need Help? Insights from Canadian Centre for Addictions

Written by Seth Fletcher on March 31, 2015
Last update: May 13, 2024

See how drugs impact your life

Recreational drug addiction affects not only the life of the users but also the lives of their family and friends. Associated risks range from physical damage to the breakdown of relationships. It can also lead to long-term dependence, either physical or psychological. The first step to sourcing help is accepting that there is a problem, and understanding the potential level of harm that can occur is integral to the process.

Understanding Casual Drug Use

Casual drug users often don’t consider their use as an addiction. They will often use one or more of the following to defend their choices:
  • I only use it when I’m out with friends
  • It helps me sleep / relax when I’m stressed
  • It’s a social thing
  • You need it to get into the music
  • It’s only once a week
  • It’s natural, so it can’t do that much harm
  • I’m in control, I can give up whenever I want

Social Impact of Recreational Drug Addiction

Different recreational drugs are linked to different social activities. However, too often the outcome of their use is the same. You may think that using drugs such as ecstasy or cocaine on a night out with friends is not a problem. In reality, these and other drugs cause you to lose your inhibitions and increase your confidence. The false feeling of confidence or that everyone is your friend can lead to misread situations or overreactions to the actions of others. Friends are less likely to hang out with you if your behavior is unpredictable. They may react similarly if a night out with you constantly runs the risk of a visit to the emergency room or a night in police custody.

Career and financial impact of recreational drug addiction

Almost all recreational drugs involve some kind of ‘come-down,’ a period when your body and mind readjust to no longer having the drug in the system. Symptoms of this include lethargy, depression, anxiety, and moodiness. The length of time these symptoms last depends on the individual, but anywhere between 24 and 48 hours is common. If you go to work on a Monday morning with these symptoms, it will affect your productivity, potentially leading to the loss of your job and financial hardship.

The effects on your health

There is no regulation in the recreational drug market and, therefore, overdose and poisoning are not uncommon. In addition, there is the risk from mixing these drugs with pre-existing medical conditions or prescribed medication. Sharing needles, or straws for cocaine, carry the additional risk of spreading blood-borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis. Understanding risk is difficult when using drugs, and by the time you have been exposed to these health risks you could have potentially endangered the lives of those you love. Seek help before your recreational drug addiction causes irreversible harm to you or your loved ones.
Certified Addiction Counsellor

Seth brings many years of professional experience working the front lines of addiction in both the government and privatized sectors.

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