Drug
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Basic Information

Any pharmacologically active substance that is not part of the body's normal metabolism - that is, a substance alien to the body's natural biochemistry that causes demonstrable effects once introduced to it. The line between a drug and a poison is blurry at best and relies mostly on being able to define what is - and isn't - a desirable effect.

The effects that the user of a drug intends to occur are generally defined as the 'main effect', 'primary' or 'indication'. Others, besides those actually desired - and particularly deleterious ones - are known as side-effects.

In the modern era the trade in drugs is heavily regulated by most governments due to the immense potential for harm caused by rogue operators - licensing of who can make, store, handle and sell what is strict in most jurisdictions and enforced by powerful agencies with wide ranging powers. Where this is not the case the existence of contaminated, counterfeit or otherwise unsafe compounds can be a serious menace to the general population.

A prominent sub-category of the whole is recreational drugs - and, due to misuse of English by the media these are what far too many people think of when they hear the word "drugs".

Useful terms of reference include:

  • Narcotic: Roughly translated as "sleep-making", these are substances that induce drowsiness and frequently euphoria in the user - typically through depression of the central nervous system - and may also have analgesic and sedative effects. High doses will tend to led to unconsciousness, escalating to coma and eventual death by respiratory arrest. Note that a variety of substances not typically considered to be drugs can have narcotic effects.
  • Psychoactive: General term for drugs which alter the user's central nervous activity which are not narcotic, typically stimulants and those that scramble sensory input. Widely used but not terribly specific.

List of Drugs

See Also

Sources

Bibliography

Game and Story Use

  • Both recreational drugs and medicines can make good treasure.
  • This can be a sideline for an alchemist character.
  • A possible adventure for the PCs to undertake could involve gathering recipes, materials, and equipment to make a lost cure for a plague.
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