***DISCLAIMER: I do promote the use of illegal drugs in anyway, nor the abuse of prescription drugs. Addiction is a serious issue and can ruin peoples lives. If you or someone you know has gone through this, my heart honestly goes out to you. This article is no way meant to be insensitive to those very really issues. This guide is ONLY FOR WRITERS who wish to honestly portray events in their work.
So you have drug use in your story. I am in no way versed in this particular category so I had my hands full with research. After much digging, I have built this particular reference that may also be helpful for other writers. Here are a couple of things to know (if you don’t have experience yourself):
- Don’t believe Hollywood: The film industry, as inundated with drugs as it is, often portrays drug use to some sort of extreme or improperly. There are many ways people introduce drugs into their bodies, and the mixing of drugs together can cause serious/extreme side effects.
- Substance abuse and overdose is real but not as common as you think: Smoking a joint does not typically make people immediately begin shooting up heroin or smoking meth. Many successful people of all ages do drugs. Social use, typically, is different from dependency (like drinking alcohol, for example).
- Correlations between substance abuse, poverty, and mental illness: There is yet to be an official study correlating effectively the three topics above. While substance abuse is often found in impoverished situations or with those who suffer mental illness, it can effect individuals from all walks of life.
- Substance abuse is very common with prescribed/legal drugs: People usually associate drug abuse with heroin, meth, etc., but prescribed are the worst offenders, especially since they can be acquired legally, as well as alcohol. (Outside of suicide) Alcohol causes more deaths in college students than illegal substances, for example.
- Psychedelics and other drugs do not have uniform responses, typically: it’s best to research different experiences and judge for yourself.
- Be wary of slang: Depending on the time you are writing about, slang changes frequently. However, this can be easily googled.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse: A really great resource for understanding various risk factors related to substance abuse and use, as well as current trends and law.
How to Use Psychedelics – A great website on using psychedelics specifically, mostly for healing and personal enrichment.
The Good Drugs Guide – Focused around facts and getting help with addiction, it provides a great crash course in types of drugs and their effects, mixing drugs, as well as addiction.
The Bluelight Forum – If you need more information, this forum provides an abundance of information regarding any and every drug you can think of, from people who have experienced them.
The Erowid Experience Vault – A one stop guide for personal experiences with almost every drug imaginable.
Your local or national police organization’s website. Shockingly, these are extremely helpful in the way of pricing and slang, if that is the information you need!
There are an abundance of many other forums and websites, let me know in the comments of any other sites you have come across in your writing adventures!