The Dangers of Drug Tourism

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The Dangers of Drug Tourism

Vacations offer exciting opportunities to travel to new places, relax, escape your daily routine, and explore life in a new culture or place. Travel can expand your horizons and create life-changing memories. However, there is a dark side to this adventurous spirit, one fraught with a great deal of risk to your health and safety.

Drug tourism, is defined as travel to a new place especially to obtain and take drugs that would otherwise be unavailable in the user’s country of origin. The world is filled with events and places that foster an experimental atmosphere of “celebration,” in which you may feel pressured to engage in high-risk behavior you wouldn’t at home. Here are some of the reasons why embarking on a trip for the purpose of using drugs isn’t a wise choice.

Health and safety risks

Often, people on vacation are willing to engage in lifestyle choices they wouldn’t choose back home. If you do suffer a serious health risk from a drug overdose, or injury from drug-fueled behavior, realize that finding medical care could be very difficult in a poor setting, remote location, or place where you don’t speak the language. This means that the risk of any behavior you engage in could be significantly amplified.


Just because something is being done out in the open or by new found “friends” in a new location doesn’t mean it is legal. Thailand, Columbia, and the Netherlands are among the countries in which drug use may be easy to find in some places, and tourists may be unaware when they are engaging in criminal activity. Misconceptions about what is legal in particular places, such as Amsterdam, abound, and law enforcement may not be sympathetic to your confusion.

Incarceration in a foreign country may leave you in a place with few rights or options. In Thailand for example, even law-abiding tourists have experienced being targeted by overenthusiastic or corrupt police officers, hit up for very large bribes, strip-searched and drug tested on the street, or even beaten. Willfully engaging in illegal activity puts you at the mercy of law enforcement systems in which you may have few options and tremendous risk.

Trusting the untrustworthy

Acquiring drugs often means having to put your life in the hands of people who don’t deserve your trust. In a foreign place, where you are unfamiliar with the people, language, and customs, the risks of buying drugs is increased significantly. You may not know the strength or type of drug you are getting, or be able to take it in a safe setting. This can put you at risk of drug overdose, being robbed or sexually assaulted while under the influence, or unable to get medical care if something does go wrong.

Harming the local society

Enjoying the hospitality, culture, and beauty of a village or city leaves you with an ethical obligation to leave it better off than you found it, or at least do no harm, as much as you can. Indeed, many places around the world have seen their economy and environment improve significantly because of the participation of fascinated tourists.

However, participation in the drug trade and black market has exactly the opposite effect. Columbia, and the border cities of Mexico have experienced extreme levels of suffering, poverty, and violence as warring factions of drug cartels have made life unbearable for the rest of the country’s residents. Your support of drug markets contributes to this evil, and is often a cause of corrupt law enforcement and deteriorating healthcare that makes your “experimentation” so risky in the first place.