Within our environment we may find many substances that affect the operation of our bodies other than by simply fueling them. These substances are bioactive, and may affect us for positive or negative effect. Some substances have a routinely negative effect, and these we call poisonous. Some substances have a routinely beneficial effect, and these we call "medicinal", or "therapeutic", or even "tonic". Some beneficial substances can have a harmful effect in higher doses, or when used inappropriately, and those require caution. Some beneficial substances have no known negative effects, or those negative effects occur only under exceedingly unusual or unlikely circumstances, or at monstrous, nearly unattainable dosage levels; these we consider to be safe for unsupervised use. Almost all these substances may be considered to be drugs, with the possible exception of those poisonous substances for which absolutely no medicinal or recreational use has been found.
That said, it is difficult to make a blanket statement concerning all drugs. We tend to favor natural medicine, those forms of medicine that owe their efficacy to natural elements of our environment, or the way our bodies work. Synthetic drugs often come from dangerous sources, like petroleum distillates, that leave us questioning their safety for use in the human body without repercussions which there has not been adequate time to study, since these medicines have only been available in their synthetic form for a short period of time. We advocate educating yourself, and bringing up any concerns with the health care practicioner of your choice.
As for "illicit" drug use, most "illicit" drugs fall into the dangerous category, without adequate history of reliable evaluation to allow the final determination of their effects on the human body, but with initial results indicating significant dangers inherent in their use. An exception to this are the historically used ritual plant medicines of many native peoples; some of these have an extremely long documented history of safe use, in one case even producing such positive benefits, including apparently immunizing the user against other drug use, that the Brazilian government chose to legalize it for continued use by the native population. Those plant medicines that have been demonstrated as safe and beneficial should be available for appropriate use within the world population as a whole, whatever their current legal status in various nations.
We do not advocate recreational drug use of any kind, though we recognize that this encompasses every substance from white sugar to caffeine and chocolate, as well as alcohol and many harder substances - this choice is left to the individual, who is called to judge the potential harm in the situation, and make a responsible and ethical decision that causes harm to no one. It is difficult to imagine a circumstance in which less harm would result from choosing to use one of the harder drugs than from refraining from doing so, so it can be generally said that we are opposed to the use of any dangerous drug, or substance that causes harm or high risk of harm to the user or the persons in their environment, unless the alternative poses a worse threat.
We do recognize that it is nearly impossible to drive safely while under the influence of certain substances, including alcohol, and for this reason believe that it is unacceptable to choose to allow a situation to arise where one may foreseeably be called upon to drive under the influence of any substance or circumstance that may reasonably be expected to impair one's driving safety. This includes driving while under the influence of intense emotion, or extreme lack of sleep.
We believe that many drugs impair the ability of the user to adequately assess incoming information, and/or make a responsible decision based on that information, and therefore remove the ability of the user to give informed consent to any request that would require it. These and other substances can impair the concentration and ability to direct the mind and the will to a given goal or purpose, and therefore we strongly advise that no person attempt to act in a metaphysical way while under the influence of any substance that impairs the awareness, concentration, or other relevant functioning of the individual. One possible exception to this rule of thumb regards rituals such as visionquests, which historically possess a carefully designed ritual to ensure the safety of the participant, while allowing thereby the safe use of substances which alter the perceptions of the participant in ways that might otherwise endanger hir* safety. Ritual fasting falls in this category as well, along with any rituals that deprive the participant of sleep; all are best undertaken only under the supervision of an experienced practicioner, preferably one with medical training as well.
Many, if not most, drugs have legitimate medical uses, for which they should be available. If they were not, our medical practicioners, of whatever variety, would be unable to treat us. As properly educated adults, we are able to choose to use some drugs for our own medicinal needs or recreational desires. This includes the choice to consume white sugar or chocolate purely for the enjoyment, or to use pseudoephedrine or acetominophen, or aspirin, as we need it to treat congestion, headache, or mild aches, pains or inflammation.
This choice to use a bioactive substance, or drug, is clearly not the sole indication of drug abuse. Neither can we judge solely by the type of drug; as the medical community is increasingly recognizing, there are many legitimate medical uses for strong pain medications, yet I think we can all agree that the use of such a drug by a person not suffering the pain that would necessitate it for medical use would be drug abuse.
Once again, the choice to refrain from causing harm would seem to be the defining criterion. When a drug is used appropriately, its use causes benefits that outweigh its risks of doing harm. When a drug is abused, it causes harm and/or the serious risk of harm to its abuser, and/or to others. That harm, unbalanced by adequate corresponding benefit, is the defining criterion of drug abuse, regardless of the drug involved.
While we recognize the right of adults to make choices that risk or harm themselves, no individual has the right to harm or risk harm to another who has not consented to such harm or risk. As with any other decision to cause harm, we believe that the harm will rebound on the person causing it, several times over. We recognize the right of an individual to accept harm to hirself as a consequence of informed, sane, decisions. As with all other decisions, the applicable criteria are safe, sane, and consensual, with the understanding that either safe or sane may be sacrificed, as long as the other two criteria are met, and consensual is never sacrificed. This means that we never accept drug abuse or any other action that causes harm or risk of harm to others who did not consent to it, and we believe that even with the consent of the recipient, harm done will still repercuss upon the doer, several times over.
If one is abusing drugs due to addiction, one has demonstrated a lack of control over one's own energy, and should not be exercising control over the energy of others, or over their own under circumstances that require tight control, such as magickal practise. If a person is choosing freely to abuse drugs, s/he is unlikely to have the balanced positive approach that we respect most, and this is likely to affect the results of any magical work in which this person is involved. So either way, we are concerned and uncomfortable when we encounter ritual or magical practise that is led by a person who abuses drugs.
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