Drug user

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Person smoking marijuana joint.

A drug user is a person who uses drugs either legally or illegally. A drug user may or may not also be a drug abuser, and may or may not have one or more drug addictions.


The term "user" is typically employed to refer to someone who is a drug user, abuser, or addict.[1] Drug users are sometimes referred to as "heads," depending on the drug used, i.e., pothead, hophead, crackhead, etc.[2]


People have used drugs for thousands of years. Evidence of human use of opium has been found in neolithic and Bronze Age archeological sites in Europe, and an opium pipe from 1200 years ago has been unearthed on the island of Cyprus. The psychoactive use of cannabis has been dated as far back as 10,000 years ago in present-day Taiwan.[3] The earliest use of coca has been documented to 8,000 years ago from a site in Peru.[4]


Many drugs have serious mental and physiological adverse effects. There appears to be a natural and universal desire to alter one's state of mind, as evidenced, for example, by the spinning, swinging, and sliding seen in children's play.[5] Studies have shown that there is a genetic basis of drug addiction.[6]


Ideas of self-ownership and cognitive liberty affirm rights to use drugs, whether for self-medicational use,[7][8][9] or recreational use.[10][11][12] People who use illegal drugs risk imprisonment, loss of voting rights, and face discrimination in areas of employment, housing, and child custody.[13][14][15][16] A 2011 report issued by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, criticized the global war on drugs and specifically stated:

End the criminalization, marginalization, and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.[17]

Notable drug users[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "user". dictionary.com. 
  2. ^ "head". dictionary.com. 
  3. ^ Merlin, M.D (2003). "Archaeological Evidence for the Tradition of Psychoactive Plant Use in the Old World". Economic Botany 57 (3): 295–323. doi:10.1663/0013-0001(2003)057[0295:aeftto]2.0.co;2. 
  4. ^ Palmer, Jason (2010-12-01). "Coca leaves first chewed 8,000 years ago, says research". BBC. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  5. ^ Weil, Andrew (2004). The Natural Mind: A Revolutionary Approach to the Drug Problem (Revised edition). Houghton Mifflin. p. 15. ISBN 0-618-46513-8. 
  6. ^ Ducci F, Goldman D (June 2012). "The genetic basis of addictive disorders". The Psychiatric Clinics of North America 35 (2): 495–519. doi:10.1016/j.psc.2012.03.010. PMC 3506170. PMID 22640768. 
  7. ^ Flanigan J (October 2012). "Three arguments against prescription requirements". Journal of Medical Ethics 38 (10): 579–86. doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100240. PMID 22844026. 
  8. ^ Kerry Howley (August 1, 2005). "Self-Medicating in Burma: Pharmaceutical freedom in an outpost of tyranny". Reason. Retrieved 14 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Daniel Schorn (February 11, 2009). "Prisoner Of Pain". 60 Minutes. Retrieved September 15, 2013. 
  10. ^ Emily Dufton (Mar 28, 2012). "The War on Drugs: Should It Be Your Right to Use Narcotics?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  11. ^ Doug Bandow (2012). "From Fighting the Drug War to Protecting the Right to Use Drugs - Recognizing a Forgotten Liberty". Towards a Worldwide Index of Human Freedom. Chapter 10. Fraser Institute. pp. 253–280. 
  12. ^ Thomas Szasz (1992). Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market. Praeger. 
  13. ^ Knafo, Saki (20213-07-25). "Voting Rights Of Black Americans Trampled By 'New Jim Crow,' Civil Rights Advocates Say". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-19.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. ^ Korkki, Phyllis (2009-12-12). "Workers May Lie About Drug Use, but Hair Doesn’t". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  15. ^ Greenhouse, Linda (2002-03-27). "Justices Rule Drug-Eviction Law Is Fair". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  16. ^ Riggs, Mike (2013-05-08). "Even in 2013, Parents Who Use Marijuana Risk Losing Their Kids". Reason. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  17. ^ Benjamin, Mark (2011-06-02). "Commission: Drugs Win War on Drugs". Time. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  18. ^ "Armstrong biographer interview". NPR Online. National Public Radio. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  19. ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer (2002-04-10). "Bloomberg Says He Regrets Marijuana Remarks". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  20. ^ Bourdain, Anthony (2000). Kitchen Confidential. New York: Bloomsbury. p. 123. ISBN 1-58234-082-X. 
  21. ^ Fox, Margalit (2005-09-20). "Honey Bruce Friedman Dies at 78; Entertainer and 'Lenny's Shady Lady'". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  22. ^ "Clinton Tried Marijuana as a Student, He Says". New York Times. 1992-03-30. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  23. ^ Wade, Nicholas (2006-07-11). "A Peek Into the Remarkable Mind Behind the Genetic Code". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  24. ^ Feynman, Richard (1997). Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-393-31604-9. 
  25. ^ Gleick, James (1992). Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman. Pantheon Books. p. 406. ISBN 0-679-40836-3. 
  26. ^ Nuland, Sherwin (2011-07-21). "Sigmund Freud’s Cocaine Years". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-26. 
  27. ^ Stephen Manes, Paul Andrews (1994). Gates: how Microsoft's mogul reinvented an industry and made himself the richest man in America. Simon & Schuster. 
  28. ^ "Bill Gates Interview". Playboy. 1994. 
  29. ^ Graves, Lucia (2011-12-13). "Newt Gingrich A Hypocrite For Supporting Death Penalty For Marijuana Smugglers, Gary Johnson Says". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  30. ^ Ellison, Michael (2000-02-06). "Gore was avid pot smoker - book". Guardian. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  31. ^ Bakalar, James and Lester Grinspoon (1997). Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 39–41.
  32. ^ Zuger, A (April 26, 2010). "Traveling a Primeval Medical Landscape". The New York Times. 
  33. ^ Smith, Craig S. (2008-04-30). "Albert Hofmann, the Father of LSD, Dies at 102". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  34. ^ Greenfield, Rebecca (2012-02-09). "Steve Jobs FBI File Confirms He Was a Jerk, Drug User, and Poor Student". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  35. ^ "John Kerry on Drugs". On the Issues. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  36. ^ Whoriskey, Peter (2006-04-29). "Rush Limbaugh Turns Himself In On Fraud Charge In Rx Drug Probe". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  37. ^ Terisi, Dick (1998-10-11). "Weird Science - Review of Dancing Naked in the Mind Field". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  38. ^ Seelye, Katherine Q. (2006-10-24). "Barack Obama, asked about drug history, admits he inhaled". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  39. ^ P.J.O'Rourke (1995). Republican Party Reptile. Atlantic Monthly Press.
  40. ^ Juliet Macur (February 5, 2009). "Phelps Disciplined Over Marijuana Pipe Incident". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  41. ^ "de Quincey". dictionary.com. 
  42. ^ Wing, Nick (2013-05-31). "Carl Sagan, Marijuana Advocate, Explains what it's like to be High While Carl Sagan". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  43. ^ Garofoli, Joe (2012-11-01). "Rick Steves endorses legalizing pot". SFGate. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  44. ^ Labaton, Stephen (1991-07-11). "Thomas Smoked Marijuana But Retains Bush Support". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  45. ^ Jason, Hughes (2013-08-16). "Oprah Winfrey Talks Smoking Weed, Rocky OWN Launch On 'WWHL' (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  46. ^ "Winfrey admits to cocaine abuse". Observer-Reporter. 1995-01-14. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 

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