Drugs

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A drug (osadha) is a chemical substance, eaten, drunk, smoked or injected, for either medicinal or recreational purposes. Taking drugs for medical reasons, even if they are tinctures containing small amounts of alcohol, would not involve breaking the fifth Precept because the motive in taking them is the restoration of health and the amount of alcohol consumed would be too small to cause intoxication. However, drugs like marijuana, opium, heroine, ecstasy etc, which have limited or no medicinal value, distort consciousness and can lead to physical or psychological dependency are definitely against the Precept. The most widely consumed intoxicating drug in many societies is alcohol and in some Middle Eastern countries is kat. Chewing betel nut is a common practice in Buddhist countries even among monks, but is not, most authorities agree, breaking the Precepts as its intoxicating effect is miniscule.

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