Question Time

Anonymous wrote:

I find your story intriguing, but I have to ask: what made you change your mind about recreational drug use?

Obviously a stint in prison - and such a grueling stint - is the legal system's way of saying "fuck you, you can't do that" but the law and someone's personal beliefs are independent of each other.

I'm a semi-regular user of certain party drugs (for simplicity let's say legal stimulants like 6-APB) but I don't see any moral dilemma -- I make a free, uncoerced decision to consume a drug by assessing the scientific data published about it.

As a man with far more life experience, your opinion really interests me. I'd love to know the moral and intellectual process you went through to get from dealer to anti-drug use speaker.


Thanks for the deep question. I know how drugs start and how they end. Where are the old drug addicts? Either dead, in prison, or mental hospital. It's a lottery, but over time, poisoning your body loses its fun and does you in. I just lost two more friends to drugs in recent months, including Joey Crack from Hard Time. It's reached the point now where I'm wondering which of my friends are going to die next.

Shaun Attwood


Anonymous said...

I think that's an unfair conclusion. There are plenty of people who experimented and partied with both legal and illegal substances in their youth, got bored of them and moved on, and now hold down respectable and well paid jobs. That includes a substantial portion of government ministers.

I think it would be safe to say that there are reasonable odds that most people under 50 would know somebody who had used party drugs frequently in their youth, and are now fine.

The difference between you and them is simply a matter of degrees, and the fact you used them in the US where war on drugs propaganda has created an insane and hysterical political climate

I'm not convinced that over-exaggerating the dangers of drugs to schoolchildren does any good. Most of the kids you speak to will end up in an environment (university) where they will be exposed to drugs. If they see friends using them, and not dropping dead or going insane, then many may just conclude there was little truth to the anti-drug messages.

Whereas an honest message along the lines of "yes recreational drugs can be fun, and many people who have used them when young have managed to lead a normal life after giving them up. But they can be addictive to people with addictive personalities, and long term use will carry serious health consequences. There will also be small chance that a bad reaction to an E or a bad trip will cause serious and long lasting damage, or death. It's therefore a bad idea, in the same way that you shouldn't consumer large amounts of alcohol"


Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to answer and for sharing my question.

Clearly you have a lot more first-hand experience of the effects of long-term drug use whereas my views are mostly theoretical and hypothetical. It wouldn't be right for me to attempt a debate from my position but if you've got time, a few more questions!

To what extent do you believe in the gateway theory of drug use? And do you believe that alcohol, tobacco etc. should be banned accordingly? Personally I'm a terrible case study for the gateway theory because I started on class A stimulants quite some time before I first smoked a joint. I actually backpedaled from the harder drugs in the interest of my health; the "reverse gateway".

Would you support a system whereby drugs are scientifically and empirically rated for harm and dependence potential (as has been suggested recently for the UK)? Drugs above a certain level of harm/dependence would then be banned -- and classed according to how high up the scale they are. It would make sense to use alcohol as the starting point which would then make weaker drugs such as cannabis and LSD legal. In fact, under that system, the majority of illegal drugs would have to be made legal. That strange bit of hypocrisy always widens my eyes. Would your solution be to ban the legal drugs too or to go ahead and use alcohol as the starting point?

- Elliott

Jon said...

Jim, I agree with your perspective. I do tell them that drugs start out as fun and that's why so many people do them. I don't tell people how to behave. I just tell them my story, which is an extreme one, including what has happened to my friends, and they draw their own conclusions.

Jon said...

I didn't succumb to the gateway theory either. I pretty much skipped weed, drank a bit, and went straight to club drugs.

Watching long term users and formerly being one, we definitely increased our intake over the years and mixed drugs to try to maintain the strength of our highs, increasing the damage to ourselves.

I think drugs should be legalised. That would end crime as we know it and empty our courts and prisons. Illegalisation creates a black market and makes thrill-seekers (like me) want to break the law (me previously). Prisons are full of people on drug charges or theft for drug finance. It's big business and the politicians are in on it.

I like your idea of a rating system, but I don't agree that LSD is weaker than alcohol. Alcohol and tobacco do cause the most deaths though. People should be educated and controls put in place for minors.

muzuzuzus said...

I would like to share this discussion with you here where included is the war on drugs, and about the tragedy of the great singer, Amy Winehouse, who did here fair share of drugs, including alcohol (a drug, but rarely ever called that in this culture!) which eventually killed her.
There Be Dragons: Daniel Pinchbeck Talks with Russell Brand

I agree very much with Graham Hancock who says how the most important thing is KNOWLEDGE. he reminds that cigarettes are an accepted, yet one of the most dangerous drugs, and yet because people are told the information more and more have voluntairly come off them even though nicotime is one of the most addictive substances.
And also we must be aware of the loaded term 'drugs' and not include the psychedelics in that category--they are completely different, and deserve the utmost respect, and help many people OFF destructive habits.