To use controlled and other drugs responsibly, a person must adhere to a list of principles. They and others argue that drug users must:

  • Understanding and educating oneself on the effects, risks, side effects and legal status of the drug they are taking.
  • Measuring accurate dosages, and take other precautions to reduce the risk of overdose when taking drugs where an overdose is possible.
  • Taking a small dose first when taking a new drug.
  • If possible, chemically testing all drugs before use to determine their purity and strength.
  • Attempting to gain the most pure and high-quality drugs laced with no cutting agent at best such as by buying on darknet markets.
  • Using drugs only in relaxed and responsible social situations as altered consciousness can be inappropriate in potentially dangerous or unknown settings.
  • Avoiding driving, operating heavy machinery, or otherwise situate themselves directly or indirectly responsible for the safety or care of another person while enhanced and discouraging persons from operating a motor vehicle while enhanced.
  • Having a trip sitter (or "copilot") when taking hallucinogenic drugs.
  • Using recreational drugs in moderation, setting reasonable limits on the consumption and not allowing drug use to overshadow other aspects of their life (i.e. financial and social responsibilities).
  • Taking the smallest dose of a recreational drug that will produce the desired effects.
  • Avoiding mixing or combining drugs, especially unknown drugs and drugs with known dangerous interactions.
  • Not trusting someone else with the responsibility for your health and safety.
  • Knowing basic first-aid techniques and taking responsibility for applying them appropriately in cases of drug emergencies.
  • Avoiding the injection of drugs.
  • Recognizing that one's own drug-taking behavior and attitudes in the presence of others will influence others, especially children.
  • Abstaining from drug use when inappropriate for reasons of health and physical fitness such as during pregnancy.
  • Respecting an individual's decision concerning drug use.
  • Providing alternatives of acceptable social-recreational behaviors within a group for others and avoiding drug use to become the only motivation or focus of the social situation.
  • Understanding the individuality of response.
  • Being aware of the complex influences of set and setting on psychoactive drug experiences and acting accordingly.

Ethical guidelines include:

  • Never tricking or persuade anyone to use a drug.
  • Being morally conscious of the source of the drugs that a person is using.