Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Sixty seconds on . . . psilocybin

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 18 May 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i2775

Rapid Response:

What are recreational drugs?

"Recreational drugs" is a loose term that refers to legal and illegal drugs that are used without medical supervision. There are four categories of recreational drugs: analgesics, depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens. Analgesics include narcotics like heroin, morphine, fentanyl, and codeine. Depressants include alcohol, barbiturates, tranquilizers, and nicotine. Stimulants include cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy (MDMA). Hallucinogens include LSD (acid), peyote (mescaline), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), marijuana, ketamine, phencyclidine (PCP), and salvia divinorum (diviner's sage).

"Recreational drugs" is a bad term. It suggests that drugs can be fun and safe. Nothing could be further from the truth. All drugs are nightmarish and dangerous. They alter our perception of reality and diminish our ability to reason, both of which endanger us. Drugs create psychological and physical dependence, both of which enslave us. Recreation is a legitimate need that requires legitimate activities, such as hobbies, exercise, conversation, music, dance, art, and literature.

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 May 2016
Hugh Mann
New York, NY, USA