Recreational Or Casual Drug

These two terms are generally understood to refer to drug use that is small in amount, infrequent, and without adverse consequences, but these characteristics are not in fact necessary parts of the definitions. In the terminology recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), the two terms are synonymous. However, recreational use really refers only to the motive for use, which is to obtain effects that the user regards as pleasurable or rewarding in some way, even if that use also carries some potential risks. Casual use refers to occasional as opposed to regular use, and therefore implies that the user is not dependent or addicted (see below), but it carries no necessary implications with respect to motive for use or the amount used on any occasion. Thus, a casual user might become intoxicated (see below) or suffer an acute adverse effect on occasions, even if these are infrequent.

Occasional use may also be circumstantial or utilitarian, if employed to achieve some specific short-term benefit under special circumstances. The use of AMPHETAMINES to increase endurance and postpone fatigue by students studying for examinations, truck drivers on long hauls, athletes competing in endurance events, or military personnel on long missions, are all instances of such utilitarian use. Most observers also consider the first three of these to be abuse or misuse, but many would not regard the fourth example as abuse because it is or was prescribed by military authorities under unusual circumstances, for necessary combat goals. Nevertheless, in all four instances the same drug effect is sought for the same purpose (i.e., to increase endurance). This illustrates the complexities and ambiguities of definitions in the field of drug use.

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