Ruth Clifford Engs, Author. Alcohol and Other Drugs: Self Responsibility, Tichenor Press: Bloomington, IN, 1987.
Andrew Weil feels that we have a basic need to change or alter conscious awareness. This appears to be a need that transcends culture, race, age, intelligence, and other human and personal characteristics. It is a universal need and can be seen in a variety of activities people have done for centuries. Young children in all cultures like to swing on ropes or swings until they are dizzy, and individuals in many different cultures will dance and sing for hours without stopping. Moreover, members of all cultures have engaged in some type of meditation or physical activity that changes conscious states. Even drug use has been common throughout history to change conscious states.
This need to change conscious awareness is just as strong as the other basic needs. The need appears to be instinctual, and it is cyclical. In many ways it is similar to the sexual need. The urge to relieve tension is felt spontaneously from within the individual. It reaches a peak, finds pleasure in relief, and then dissipates. The rhythm is different for everyone. However, the satisfaction of this need, like the meeting of any basic need, can be accomplished in a responsible and safe way or in a dangerous and irresponsible manner.
Harm reduction is another term for self-responsibility. Harm reduction can include actions taken by both the individual and society.