In Study One, a sample of 230 college students were asked to estimate the abuse potential and lethality of commonly used recreational drugs, both licit and illicit. In Study Two, a sample of 103 degreed nurses were asked to estimate the lethality of the same recreational drugs. The findings indicate that the illicit drugs under consideration are perceived as presenting the greatest danger to the user and that dangers attributed to the use of licit recreational drugs are generally minimized. Perception of danger was found to be unaffected by exposure to reported drug education programs. Results are discussed in terms of public health implications.