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Drugs are substances that alter the body and mind. While they can give mood- and stat- related boosts, most drugs come with a risk to addiction, overdose, or both.


When taken, a drug will have 2 major types of effects:

  • Effects that happen once, on taking the drug - such as wake-up immediately fulfilling Rest. Most drugs increase Recreation.
  • Effects that happen as long as the "high" is active - such as go-juice's increase to Moving. Most drugs increase mood directly. The effect is sustained so long as the "severity" is greater than 0.

However, drugs come with multiple downsides. A majority of drugs can cause addiction, creating a demand for a drug. An addict without the drug will undergo a harmful withdrawal. Stronger drugs have stronger withdrawals, and always have a risk of overdose, which can rarely lead to death. And, there can be health issues that arise, either from being overly tolerant to the drug (from taking it too much), or from being high at all.

Impulsive drug use

Even if you never order colonists to take a drug, having them in your colony allows access to the drug binge mental break. Social drug binges happen as a major break, and hard drug binges are an extreme break. Colonists in a mental break will ignore allowed areas and forbidden items.

Drugs are desired for pawns with chemical interest and chemical fascination, who will be upset (−6 and −12 mood, respectively) if their Chemical need is unmet. They will take drugs as part of Recreation, regardless of drug assignment, though cannot bypass allowed areas or restrictions.

Medical drugs (penoxycyline and luciferium) will never be taken as part of drug binges or the chemical need traits.

List of drugs

Drugs can be grouped into 3 major categories:

Social drugs:
Drugs that have a safe dose interval. They never cause overdoses, and won't cause addiction or permanent health problems unless taken too often.

Hard drugs:
Drugs that always have a chance for addiction and major overdose when a regular human takes the drug. These drugs also increase overdose severity; taking multiple gives a chance of starting a minor overdose.

Medical drugs:
Special purpose. They don't increase mood, don't follow the trends of other drugs, and treat some form of ailment. Penoxycyline contributes to overdoses, while luciferium doesn't.


Many drugs have some form of tolerance, which increases as you take more of the drug. Tolerance decreases the duration of a drug high, as well as addiction need gain, inversely to tolerance itself (75% tolerance = 25% drug high). In addition to social drugs requiring a minimum % tolerance before addiction can happen, tolerance itself makes addiction more likely:

Tolerance Multiplier Graph
0% ×100%
50% ×500%
80% ×1500%

Certain tolerances can directly cause chronic health problems. Smokeleaf tolerance (>36%) causes asthma and lung carcinoma, beer (>?%) can cause liver cirrhosis, and psychite (>45%) causes chemical damage to the kidney. Tolerance to ambrosia has no special ill effect, while the other drugs have no tolerances.

Tolerance gain per drug scales inversely with body size. Children Content added by the Biotech DLC and small animals can get addicted much easier than an adult would.


Addiction is a reality when using extreme drugs. When taking hard drugs, there is always a chance to cause addiction, and taking enough of any non-Penoxycyline drug can eventually get a pawn addicted. As they take the drug, a pawn's tolerance increases, which decreases a drug's effect while increasing the chance of addiction. Some drugs require a minimum tolerance (i.e. minimum drugs taken/time) before addiction is possible at all. Uniquely, getting an addiction to psychite has an immediate 15% chance of causing chemical damage to the kidneys.

The following table is a summary of each drug's addiction potential:

  • Drug High duration
    (0% tol.)
    Safe dose interval
    Tolerance gain/dose Tolerance fall rate New addiction min tolerance New addiction chance Safe doses at 0 tolerance
    Ambrosia 16.7 h 1.6 Days 3.2% 2% / Day 15% 1% 4
    Psychite tea 7.2 h 2 Days 3% 1.5% / Day 10% 2% 3
    Beer 4.8 h 1 Day 1.6% 1.6% / Day 25% 1% 15
    Smokeleaf 12 h 2 Days 3% 1.5% /Day 15% 2% 5
    Flake 7.2 h Never 4% 1.5% / Day 0% 5% 0
    Yayo 12 h Never 4% 1.5% / Day 0% 1% 0
    Wake-up 12 h Never N/A N/A 0% 2% 0
    Go-juice 16.7 h Never N/A N/A 0% 2.6% 0


    Addiction need

    When addicted, pawns gain a need for that specific drug. This is displayed in the Needs window of a pawn. When it hits 0, they receive the effects of withdrawal. Each drug type has their own separate need. By default, pawns will automatically take drugs to satisfy this need, even if the default "No Drugs" drug policy is selected. You can disable this in the drug policy menu (under the Assign tab).

    Taking a non-Luciferium drug increases the addict's drug need by a base of +90%, but this is reduced by a pawn's tolerance to that drug. Need fall rate depends on the drug itself:

    • Beer, smokeleaf, ambrosia, and psychite needs fall by 50% per day.
    • Wake-up and go-juice needs fall by 33.3% per day.
    • Luciferium need falls by 15% per day, so that it must be taken every 6.667 days.

    This is separate from the addiction (%) in the Health tab, which is the progress towards overcoming an addiction. See Addiction progress for that.

    Addiction progress

    In an addict's Health tab, there will be either Addiction (%) or Withdrawal (%), depending on if the drug need is fulfilled. The percentage is the progress towards overcoming an addiction. Each drug has different stats on addiction gain. In general, progress increases as time passes and decreases as drugs are taken. Progress does not immediately restart after taking a new drug. New addicts will always start at 50%, so immediate action is best if you want to fix an addiction.

    Luciferium is special. The need for luciferium can never be cured, and trying to withdraw can and will eventually result in death.


    When trying to overcome an addiction, withdrawal is inevitable. Ambrosia has the lightest withdrawal, consisting only of a −10 moodlet. Every other (non-luciferium) drug withdrawal follows these trends:

    As with addiction, each drug has a different form of withdrawal - see their page for details.


    Overdose is an ailment that can occur when taking hard drugs (flake, yayo, go-juice, wake-up), though penoxycyline can also add to an overdose.

    • There is a 0.5% to 1.5% chance to immediately gain a Major-level overdose upon taking a hard drug (dependent on the drug).
    • Taking any hard drug always increases severity from 0.18 to 0.35 per dose.
    • Taking penoxycyline always increases severity from 0.08 to 0.14 per dose.


    Severity is translated to overdose effects, as follows:

    Hidden: Severity < 0.50

    • No effect, within tolerable levels of hard drug consumption
    • Doesn't show on the health tab of colonists

    Minor: Severity 0.5 — 0.749

    • 50% Consciousness [Added or multiplied?]
    • Frequent vomiting - Every 0.3 days (4.8h) on average

    Major: Severity 0.75 — 0.999

    • Consciousness 10% max (immediate down).
    • Chemical damage to the brain on average 2.5 days in this state
    • Death on average 3 days in this state

    Fatal: Severity 1

    • Overdosing pawn's body is unable to handle extreme drug levels, and succumbs

    Severity decreases at a rate of 1 per game day. This means it takes up to 24 hours for a full recovery, or 12 hours if no overdose is visible.

    Interaction with DLC

    The Drugs: Essential preceptContent added by the Ideology DLC desires drugs. Their mood shifts from +3 to −10 depending on how long a drug has been taken, but the ideoligion does not force drug use. This precept increases drug yield by +50%, synthesis speed by +50%, and adds +10% Trade Price Improvement when selling drugs.

    GenesContent added by the Biotech DLC can impact drug addiction. For all drug genes, alcohol and smokeleaf have the smaller impact to metabolism.

    • <Drug>-impervious eliminates all addiction and tolerance, and reduces the random overdose chance by 50%, for −3Metabolism or −5Metabolism metabolic efficiency.
    • <Drug>-resistant reduces addiction, tolerance, and random overdose chance by 50%, for −1Metabolism or −2Metabolism metabolic efficiency.
    • <Drug>-dependency requires the drug every 5 days to avoid large penalties, puts in a coma in 30 days, and kills in 60 days. However, it gives immunity to addiction and random overdose. This gene instead adds +3Metabolism or +4Metabolism metabolic efficiency.


    Drugs are highly profitable and very lightweight source of money. They are a valid and powerful source of income if you are in a temperate/warm biome, or have a greenhouse to make them in. There is absolutely no penalty towards selling any drug to any faction. Factions are even happy about gifted drugs.

    Drug synthesis relies on Plants (to grow hops, smokeleaf leaves, and psychoid leaves), and one of Cooking (smokeleaf, beer, psychite tea) or Intellectual (other drugs). It is considered a Crafting work, despite it not using the Crafting skill.


    Flake is usually the most profitable drug that your colony can produce on its own. Note that growing the psychoid plant requires a Plants skill of 6, and creating flake requires the Psychite refining research.

    Smokeleaf is flake's biggest competitor. Compared to flake, smokeleaf only gives 88% the silver per unit of planter work (+12.5% more drug/plant, but −21.5% value/drug). Joints also take longer to create: with equal skill, they take +80% more work. However, smokeleaf relies on Cooking skill, and grows much faster than psychoid in hydroponics. Therefore, using smokeleaf may be better if you have a great Cook, but no Intellectual pawn.

    Other comparisons:

    • Compared to yayo, flake is worth 2/3rds the silver, but requires 80% of the Work To Make and 50% of the ingredient costs. Flake gives 33% more silver per psychoid leaf for only 7% more work.
    • Psychite tea costs the same amount of psychoid leaves as flake, but is worth less and takes longer to make.
    • Brewing beer gives less drug per hop plant grown than psychoid (thus less drug/planter work), and each beer is worth less than 1 flake.
    • Ambrosia can only be found in the event, and it may grow in an inconvenient location. This makes ambrosia inconsistent at best. But ambrosia requires 0 work to synthesize, only harvest work - if it's nearby, then it's easy money.

    Other drugs must be bought entirely, or require neutroamine, which cannot be produced by a colony. The colony trade disadvantage normally rules out selling any neutroamine product as profitable, unless you have an amazing trader. Even then, their production is limited by the supply of neutroamine.

    Reasons to use drugs

    RimWorld isn't real life. A drink a day won't really hurt anybody, though alcohol and smokeleaf do make colonists less productive. Psychite tea and ambrosia have purely positive effects when taken every 2 days (adult timing). Tea will even increase productivity by reducing the need for sleep. As long as you set a good drug schedule, using social drugs can be a safe way to boost mood.

    Penoxycyline is completely safe to use, preventing diseases like malaria and sleeping sickness, which are common in tropical/swampy biomes.

    Setting a drug schedule

    In the Assign tab, you can click on Manage Drug Policies to alter when a colonist will take their drugs. The main settings to change are For Recreation, which should be turned off, and Scheduled, to be turned on.

    A drug schedule consists of 3 parts:

    • Frequency: How long between taking each drug. This can be set to an integer day number (or X times per day, if you so want).
      • Note that penoxycyline lasts for 5.55 days, and you can only set the drug interval to 5 or 6 days. Either some of its effect will be wasted, or there will be a short time where colonists are vulnerable to disease.
    • Mood: Maximum mood before being able to take the drug.
    • Recreation: Maximum Recreation before being able to take the drug.

    All three requirements must be met in order for the drug to be taken. For example, setting Ambrosia to (2 days, 40% mood) will cause Ambrosia to be taken once every 2 days at most, and only when mood is below the threshold. If setting a mood threshold, it's best to keep it slightly above a mental break threshold, to account for walking time.

    Of course, you can direct pawns to take drugs manually, and only manually. You can set colonists to carry drug at all times, and take it whenever needed; this is especially useful for combat drugs like go-juice.

    Reasons for hard drugs

    Hard drugs are never "safe" to use, but can be useful. Go-juice, wake-up, and yayo all help when you really need them. For example, go-juice helps a stray colonist run from a manhunter pack, wake-up can get something done immediately, and yayo/flake are an instant and huge mood boost, which can prevent mental breaks in dire situations.

    Yayo is better than flake as an actual taken drug (more effects, less addiction/overdose chance, slightly longer), but yayo and flake stack. If you don't care about a colonist at all, you can stack them up with available drugs until you run out, or they die.

    For Luciferium, see its Analysis section. It gives many stat boosts, can cure a myrad of injuries and conditions that otherwise require healer mech serum or the Scarless geneContent added by the Biotech DLC, but causes a permanent and costly need.

    Risk of storage

    The main risk of keeping drugs around at all are drug binges. These can cause addiction, despite your best scheduling and zoning tools. Social drug binges happen as a major mental break, and hard drug binges happen as an extreme one. However, you can arrest a binging pawn to stop the binge, at the cost of the −6 Was imprisoned moodlet for 12 days. Healthy colonists decent at Social have a 100% Arrest Success Chance, but unskilled pawns can fail arrest, which will cause the more dangerous berserk.

    Colonists with the chemical interest and chemical fascination traits will ignore their drug policy - they will take any drug as a form of Recreation. This can be avoided in the following ways:

    • They will respect allowed areas and forbidden items, unless they are on a binge. You'll have to keep on top of these rules, but restrictions are effective. In particular, watch out for caravans and the Drop on Floor bill setting. Note that as of 1.4, these traits never force a binge, and do not increase the chance to binge.
    • They will only take the drug if they are assigned to Recreation or Anything in their schedule. Setting these pawns entirely to Sleep, Work, and MeditationContent added by the Royalty DLC will prevent unwanted drug taking. Meditation can satisfy the recreation need (though they'll get bored of it).

    In addition, animals can wander and take drugs. Most often, they will consume ambrosia and beer (which count as food items). Colony-owned animals will completely respect zone/pen rules.

    Fighting addictions

    Whenever a prisoner started with an addiction, or a colonist got unlucky drinking go-juice, addictions can and do happen. There are two main strategies to fighting one:

    Keeping the pawn from drugs

    • Prison. Arresting an addict is the simplest way to prevent addiction, so long as somebody has a good Arrest Success Chance. As long as the prison cell is clear of drugs, there is no chance of relapse.
      • Watch out for their mood, as withdrawal is difficult to go through. While mental breaks are easier to deal with in prison, berserk in particular can be harmful to both the addict and others.
    • Send them on a caravan. Mental breaks inside a caravan are much less impactful, only slowing the caravan down. Don't forget to remove the drug in question.
      • As long as you are on top of a settlement, ambushes will not happen. Note that sending an addict alone to park on your colony is not safe if extreme breaks are possible.
    • Send them on a Pawn Lending quest.Content added by the Royalty DLC Lending a pawn will advance addiction and tolerance, but prevents all the negatives of addiction. As getting quests at all isn't reliable, this itself isn't reliable. Also note that a single quest is rarely enough to fix a full addiction.

    Keeping drugs from reach

    While allowed areas and drug policies won't work against binges, the following tactics can keep the drugs from the colonist:

    • Sell them. You'll gain some money out of it, which is always useful.
    • Load them in a transport pod. You don't have to launch it, though you can. Once loaded, the drugs will remain so long as the pod is not destroyed.
    • Load them inside other colonists. Note that colonists can only hold 3 drugs, each - this only works against a small amount of drugs.
    • Wall them in. Set a stockpile zone, haul the drugs in, and seal them off with walls. If there's no path to it, then it's out of mind.
    • Destroy them, with a campfire, electric crematorium, or controlled fire. Each method will destroy entire stacks at a time. Do this if you don't want the hassle of the other methods, or if you have no other choice.

    During withdrawal, the addict will face a severe mood hit, and be less productive due to the stat increases. If you do decide to just get rid of drugs, watch out for any drugs held by raiders, and have some way to help the mood. You might want to use another social drug, or if you can afford the medicine cost, anesthetic.


    Drug Ingredients Work to Make Minimum Skills Market Value
    Wake-up Neutroamine 2 900 ticks (15 secs) Intellectual 35 Silver
    Penoxycyline Neutroamine 2 600 ticks (10 secs) - 18 Silver
    Flake Psychoid leaves 4 250 ticks (4.17 secs) Intellectual 14 Silver
    Yayo Psychoid leaves 8 350 ticks (5.83 secs) Intellectual 21 Silver
    Psychite tea Psychoid leaves 4 400 ticks (6.67 secs) Cooking 2 10 Silver
    Smokeleaf joint Smokeleaf leaves 4 450 ticks (7.5 secs) Cooking 11 Silver
    Go-juice Neutroamine 2 + Yayo 1 600 ticks (10 secs) Intellectual 53 Silver
    Beer Wort 1 ticks (0 secs) - 12 Silver