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Is Casual Drug Use Okay?

by Will Long

July 28, 2022

Casual Drug Use

There’s a common sentiment that occasionally using drugs, say on the weekends or at parties, is okay. The reality is that casual use of drugs like marijuana, cocaine or meth, can have negative consequences on your behavior and overall health. Casual drug use can easily turn into a chemical dependency. Taking any drugs for recreational reasons comes with risks. The increasing prevalence of fentanyl in street-sold drugs has led to deadly overdoses, even for people who were not frequently using substances like opioids. You might think off-label use of drugs is fine, but you could take something that contains a lethal ingredient, leading to an overdose or other adverse effects.

Medical professionals recommend talking to your doctor about any recreational or casual drug use. Some drugs interact with others or cause adverse effects in the body. It’s important to understand the full impact a substance may have on your body and mind. Opioids, for example, can slow your breathing. Cocaine increases your heart rate and blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart attack. Even weekly use of marijuana can cause changes in the brain, especially in adolescents and young adults whose brains are still developing. Landmark Recovery’s addiction treatment centers can help those dealing with a substance use disorder through our evidence-based programs. If you need help stopping a compulsive use pattern, contact us today.

Unsupervised Use of Controlled Substances

Taking medications that were not prescribed by a doctor can be dangerous, even deadly. You run the risk of experiencing a negative interaction if you’re already taking other prescription medications or over the counter drugs. Not only is taking unprescribed medication unsafe, it’s also illegal. Many prescription drugs are habit forming and may have long lasting side effects that extend well beyond the initial high you may be seeking. 

The casual use of controlled substances through non-oral methods, such as injection, carries a great risk of overdose as many pills that people crush into powder and mix with a liquid were designed to be slow release. Injecting substances into your bloodstream also carries the risk of contracting diseases such as Hepatitis B or HIV when you share needles. You can even contract these diseases through insufflated (snorted) drug use if intranasal straws or similar are shared.

Casual Illicit Drug Use Risks

The use of cocaine is dangerous to the internal organs due to the stress it places on them, such as the heart when large amounts of the drug is taken. Most cocaine users will binge the drug at once when taken (usually during a night out while drinking), leading to even more severe effects. Long-term cocaine use, even if it’s once a week or once a month, can cause arteries to thicken and raise your blood pressure, putting you at greater risk of having a heart attack. 

No amount of heroin is okay. Even casual heroin use, say once a week or even a few times a month, can increase your tolerance levels. This means you need more of the drug in order to feel its desired effect. Some heroin users who relapse after achieving recovery take the same amount they were used to using and end up overdosing. This is because the body has adjusted to having no heroin on a regular basis. This kind of casual use can be fatal.

Opioids bought from a black-market source can contain an unknown amount of fentanyl. This drug has caused a huge spike in overdose deaths. Even a tiny dose of fentanyl can be deadly. Manufacturers don’t pay attention to wildly varying amounts of fentanyl that they lace their fake pills with, so those who take them like they’re just a regular OxyContin pill can either get nothing or far too much at once. 

Even at lower doses, a clean opioid can cause you to feel sleepy. Higher doses can decrease your breathing and heart rate, which could lead to death. The pleasurable feelings you may experience from taking opioids can easily make you want to continue seeking the high and turn into an addiction. 

Cannabis, or marijuana, in extremely high amounts can cause severe sensual impairment and hallucinations. Marijuana grown today has a much higher percentage of THC than it did in the past, which can trigger psychosis in some users who use it regularly. None of these drugs are federally legal, and cannabis remains the only drug that’s legal in certain jurisdictions. Even then, cannabis can easily be overdone, especially if children get a hold of an adult’s supply.

How to Stop Casual Drug Use

Many people are addicted to drugs but don’t know or admit to it because they only use substances on weekends or just every once in a while. You have to ask yourself, “Can I really stop?” If the answer is no you may need to seek treatment for a substance use addiction. Outpatient treatment could be a good solution, depending on your level of dependency and what substance(s) you’re using. 

Learn more about how Landmark Recovery can help patients deal with substance use disorders. Call 888-448-0302 today to speak with a dedicated admissions specialist. Our mission is to save a million lives in the next century, starting with those in our communities.

About the Author

Will Long

Will Long

A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Will has been a writer for Landmark Recovery since 2021. Will specializes in research and writing about substance abuse from a scientific and social perspective.

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