‘Recreational drugs’ explores the origins, mechanisms, and criminalization of many widely used drugs. Many recreational drugs are legal. For instance, alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine are all widely available. Some drugs, however, are controlled by law. Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug, but some people advocate its use in pain relief. Likewise, amphetamines have been used as decongestants and ADHD, but its criminalization led to the development of designer drugs such as ecstasy. Heroin and cocaine are far harder drugs, which carry many more risks to users and society. Many Western countries have strict drug laws, but these are not always proportionate to the dangers posed by narcotics.