TRIGGER WARNING: This article or section, or pages it links to, contains information about drugs which may be triggering.
Anxiety, depression, boredom. These are all reasons someone might turn to drugs. They might feel like they need them to fit in or maybe they need to take them every day as a life-saving remedy. Either way, I don’t believe you can judge a book by its cover and being an art university graduate I’d like to believe I have a rather expressive and liberal view on the world.
I grew up in a small marine village in Essex so some could say I was brought up sheltered from the “real” world. Picture the scene, a Vicar of Dibley style setup, quaint village backdrops scattered with other sheltered residents looking for a life unchanged by social development. That was my home for a good eighteen years before I moved to Norwich and watched as a completely new city lifestyle unraveled before me.
It was only when my eyes had been opened had I discovered the village scene I’d walked away from was much darker behind the scenes. Each time I visited my home or saw old school friends appear on social media I noticed that they were all incredibly trapped in their village lifestyles that they had turned to drugs for support and a different sort of freedom. I was surprised by them, they were on mind-numbing medication for serious depression, marijuana for relaxing and the most shocking, cocaine for fun. Maybe I’d missed out on the trend or maybe I had picked friends looking to keep me sheltered but I have never seen anyone use coke, even if I am seemingly surrounded by it.
I spoke to a lot of young people, mainly those studying at university, regarding drugs but I have found the most regular users were those in their fifties or sixties. It’s from these conversations that you realise that what is represented in the media, and if you read up on the BFI guidelines you’ll see what I mean, is meant to scare you into submission, into crawling under a rock and living a sheltered village lifestyle for the rest of your lives.
Looking to different cultures, we see drugs are used recreationally regularly. For instance, the Iboga root in west central Africa is used not only for medicinal purposes but for its spiritual connection to one’s body and soul. It creates a hallucinogenic effect which lasts up to four hours followed by an introspective phase which allows users to experience past events, including traumatic memories from a vantage point.
Charas is a huge part of Indian culture and is used within the Hindu religion. It is made from the cannabis plant, having both a medicinal and recreational purpose. Charas is illegal in India, the prison sentence for possession being ten years which seems comparable to the UK’s seven-year prison sentence for possession of cocaine.
The brain is a wonderful organ and it would be a shame to let it go unexplored.
I’m not condoning drugs by any means, in fact, I am probably one of the most vanilla people you’ll ever meet, but I’m certainly not against the recreational use, as long as no one gets hurt. I believe it is all part of my personal view that a person’s body is not owned by the state and is instead owned by the brain inside the outer shell.
What are your opinions on this? Do you consider drugs to be an acceptable part of society? Or maybe, like me, the idea scares you a little? Please let me know in the comments below.
The regular scheduling of more lighthearted posts to resume on Thursday.