Psychoactive drugs have mind altering properties. They are often consumed to produce a wide range of desirable physical and psychological effects and there are hundreds of substances available.

Psychoactive drugs can occur naturally (e.g. cannabis and psilocybin); be extracted from natural sources (e.g. cocaine and heroin) or produced synthetically (man-made) in a laboratory (e.g. MDMA and methamphetamine).

People choose to take drugs for many reasons including relaxation, insomnia, pain relief, escapism, peer pressure and social norms, to get high, self-medication, to have fun, to lower inhibitions, to feel different, because they want to, to increase connection with others and music, to increase creativity, increase sexual arousal, curiosity, tradition, religious or spiritual beliefs, to lose/gain weight, to cope with grief, loneliness, trauma etc.

People from all strata of society have the potential to consume drugs and we must avoid stereotypes. Most drug use is recreational and not recorded; however, pockets of problematic use exist in a range of settings. The use of drugs is widespread and includes not just illegal substances but alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and medicines - which many people do not consider to be drugs.

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