Recreational drugs. Societal and professional issues

Nurs Clin North Am. 1991 Jun;26(2):499-509.


Recreational drug use presents a challenge to society and, in particular, the profession of nursing. Recreational drug use must be appreciated for the implications it presents for the episodes of abuse and development of chronic health problems. The effects and recreational use of volatile substances, cannabis, opioids, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, cocaine, psychedelics, and designer drugs as well as alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine must be acknowledged and understood if options for change are to be considered. The resultant cost of recreational drug use as well as health care implications, public safety, and prevention are significant issues society is faced with today. These issues will continue to be significant unless the current posture toward recreational drug use and abuse is addressed. The profession of nursing continues to be faced with the problems associated with recreational drug use not only through caring for clients, but immediately by the effects of recreational drug use on individual professional nurses. To respond effectively, nursing education and nursing research must be challenged to create an emphasis on this focus. Only through this type of multifocal approach will long-term substantial change be affected for the betterment of future generations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Curriculum
  • Decision Making
  • Designer Drugs / adverse effects
  • Education, Nursing / standards
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / adverse effects
  • Leisure Activities
  • Life Style
  • Nursing Research / standards
  • Recreation*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Values
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / nursing*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology


  • Designer Drugs
  • Illicit Drugs