Posted: 06 December 2017

Lost your drug virginity?

Dr Adam R Winstock

Founder and Managing Director Global Drug Survey

Consultant Psychiatrist and Addiction Medicine Specialist


First experiences with drugs can be a weird mix of scary and exciting as you enter the realm of the unknown. Obviously, no drug guarantees a great time and you can’t reduce your risk of harm to zero unless you steer clear completely. But there are certain things you can do to have a safer experience.

• Avoid drinking. Taking a drug when you’re drunk can make it difficult to judge dose or even detect how you’re feeling
• Plan to be around people you trust
• Find out more about what you’re taking and the safe dose
• Plan the setting
• Know what to expect

Who’s with me on this?
People tell us that when they try a drug for the first time, it’s the individuals around them that are important. A lover, a mate, your best friends – those you know and trust can open the gateway to new ways of thinking and new experiences. But if everyone is trying something for the first time – then what? Who takes care of things if someone has a bad time?

Many novice users of psychedelics make sure they have a trusted person around – preferably someone with prior experience – who can trip sit (which is where the excellent Tripsit website gets its name). Tripsitters are there to make sure their friends know what to expect, are in a good frame of mind and are in an environment that is safe and familiar.

Know the risks
Most people are aware of the benefits a drug might bring but are they always clued up on the unwanted effects too? Nausea, vomiting, gurning, sweating and an overwhelming urgent need to poo can all catch people off guard.

We know that some drugs around the world are becoming more potent (cocaine and MDMA) so first experiences may carry greater risks than they did decade ago. We’ve seen some tragic instances in the last few years where young people have died after trying a drug for the first time. In some cases, taking too much MDMA powder has been the cause.

Using drugs before your brain has stopped growing (early 20s), especially in your early and middle teens can impact on your emotional, personal and cognitive development. So let your brain develop before you try to expand it!

And remember the overwhelming majority of people don’t take drugs. In your teens or 20s between 10-20% (possibly 30% in some countries) of people in your age group will have tried illegal drugs.

No longer a virgin?
Can you remember the first time you did a line of coke, dropped a pill or took an acid trip? Were you drunk? Did you feel excited? Was it amazing or were you left wondering what all the fuss was about?

This year, Global Drug Survey is asking how you lost your drug virginity to coke, LSD and MDMA. The results will help us to inform others who haven’t tried these drugs yet how to stay safe when they do drop, snort or trip, to make their first time a safer experience.

Take part in the world’s biggest drug survey now and help us to help others stay safe.
Global Drug Survey 2018

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