Ever take a hit and things just don’t feel as good as they usually do? You know, those times when you get edgier when you’re trying to take the edge off? This might be because of an important trio called drug, set, and setting. Essentially, the idea is that the drugs we take have varying levels of intensity and potency, sometimes depending on how we take them. For example, think about smoking crystal versus slamming it – there’s a pretty major difference in terms of effects, right? Or rather, sometimes the batches we pick up are weaker than usual, or maybe they’ve been cut with other substances – these situations make it more difficult to accurately dose and can influence our high. On top of varying levels of drug intensity and potency, our mindset, or ‘set’ can also influence our time partying. Catch this – you get to the party after a stressful week at work, looking to take the edge off but with loads on your mind. Sometimes, the lingering stress and anxiety of the week melts away when you get to the partying, but other times, it sticks around and ruins the fun. This situation reflects ‘set’, or how our thoughts, mood, and expectations influence our high. Now consider this – you get to a good friend’s place for a party after a stressful week at work and spot some guy you’ve had a great time with in the past. You guys say your hellos, and the chemistry is instantly reignited. You two do some G together, and somehow the sex is even better than the last time. This situation reflects ‘setting’, or how our physical and social environments can influence our high. Partying in places and with guys we’re really comfortable with can make the high that much better, and limit the influence of stress and anxiety on our high. But sometimes, being somewhere new and with guys we haven’t established a solid connection with previously can take away from the fun. 

The great thing is, acknowledging drug, set, and setting can help us make the most of our partying, and curve some of those lows we all encounter every now and again. It’s important to recognize that drug, set, and setting interact, and we need to be conscious of how they interact to position ourselves to have the best experience possible when partying. The gist of it is that individually, drug, set, and setting each can influence our experiences when partying, but if all three are thrown off, the likelihood of having a bad trip is higher than if only one was thrown off. The important takeaway here is that being attentive to all three factors can help us reduce the likelihood of a bad trip. For example, testing our drugs or being conscious about dosing (using a timer, or checking in with a friend before dosing again) can help prevent potential lows associated with drug. Meanwhile, acknowledging our thoughts, mood, and expectations going into the party can help us be attentive to our ‘set’, and position us to work through any anxious or stressful thoughts, emotions, or expectations before we party. Finally, partying with people and in spaces where you feel safe, accepted, and validated can support ‘setting’, and increase the likelihood that your time partying will be a good one.  

Watch our video where Nick Boyce speaks about the importance of recognizing drug, set, and setting for riding the wave, and having the best time possible when partying. 

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