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March 18, 2010

Personal Observations, Experiences RE: Recreational Drugs in the US

This post actually got it's start a few years ago when my (then) girlfriend and I were on vacation, camping for a week, metal detecting and exploring Vermont. It originates from a chance meeting with a young couple in their early 20's at an observation tower - one of those rustic wooden ones open to the public. This one was high up on top of a field in a small town over-looking what seemed like 100 miles in all directions. Very beautiful country.

We got to talking with the couple, the guy was especially keen on talking when he found out I'd "come of age in the 1970's"... he was envious. "You had it made," he said, "compared to what we have to put up with now". I knew what he meant... I still like to have my hair long, wear jeans to work, try and live a laid-back lifestyle. Our conversation was amiable and it was obvious all of us there on top of that tower, were cool. It truly felt like America, the Land of the Free.

A delusion sure... I may have had some beers in a cooler, and he may have had a joint. What I remember is we had a good time. And we talked, about things the way they were for me in the 70's, and things for him since he turned 18.

He told me what I pretty much already knew, that young people in their teens were watched and scrutinized to the point youth felt "stalked and spied upon..." his exact words. All he wished for was to be able to make his own decisions when it came to finding himself. His girlfriend, who didn't say much, moved her head in agreement.

A poignant moment in time...

I admit, I was legally able to consume and purchase alcohol products at age18 in 1972. Today it's 21.

I am both in agreement with that change in the law, yet not. Alcohol is a difficult drug to handle, and I personally saw that myself, many times. It's danger is seriously underestimated. Regulation is seriously lax... I say that given reasons I will get into shortly. The fact is when I was 16 we were going to bars, illegally. Unfortunately I always got sick after two drinks...

We used to have keg parties in abandoned areas of forest... we were never bothered. I always got sick after the 2nd beer... the reason is in an earlier post. My friends - usually 3, would go driving off, leaving me at the campsite, sick. They would drive drunk, go to areas where young women hung out, and pick them up for more drinking and sex. This was the norm. And it wasn't right.

So for that reason I do believe age 21 is best for use of alcohol. I also believe the amount of alcohol a person or group can purchase should be regulated... I've seen 21 year-old's buying grocery cart's full of booze... enough to intoxicate a whole bar! That's not regulation of a dangerous drug in my way of thinking, when you compare it to talk of marijuana decriminalization in quantities of less than an ounce. I even asked the manager at the state-owned liquor store if there wasn't a limit to the amount of alcohol a person or group could buy? Their answer - "They can buy out the whole store if they have the money".

Based on the past 35 years I've learned the following about recreational drugs:

Wine, beer, booze is regulated. Loosely.

Does an 18 year old today have it worse or better than myself in 1974? No. The only recreational drug an 18 year old can use legally is tobacco. The worse drug possible. Enforcement of breaking the law with alcohol has increased many fold, while peer and adult attitudes have relaxed. Much of that is due to the fact that the current recreational drug laws prefer an enforcement approach, rather than a harm-reduction approach.

18 year olds can't use ganja, nor alcohol. But they can smoke cigarettes. And they can experiment with just about any chemical or pharmaceutical they can find. And they do.

Cannabis, in my opinion is the missing link in providing a safe way to grow old. In my media list is a book called "Marijuana is Safer, So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?" Please read it. Ganja is not addictive in the way tobacco or alcohol is. If tobacco, which seriously should be 25 or older to use, were given a competitor, those wishing to smoke something, and feel good, might try ganja over tobacco. A far wiser choice.

Here are some of my other suggestions:

K2... It was only a matter of time before some chemist came up with a synthetic form of THC. I'm not sure what this guy came up with but I'm not interested. What makes cannabis unique is the combination and level of two chemicals that occur naturally as the plant flowers - Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Pure THC is very depressing... any hype otherwise is nonsense. It is when it's combined with the cannabinoid that it becomes "friendly and euphoric". I expect the chemical that is K2 is okay, but what I don't trust are the chemist that make it for distribution. In addition, it gets mixed with an herbal blend...

I've studied herbs for 35 years. Back before Celestial Seasoning's herb teas were even thought about, I was espousing the virtues of many different herbs. As an alternative to smoking tobacco which I got hooked on quite young, I tried smoking some of the more promising herbs, not to get high, just to smoke and enjoy. I never found one that i enjoyed smoking, least of all tobacco. So why, even if K2 is legal still in most states would I want to smoke it when I can't think of any plant to mix it with?

Legal in most states... my suggestion, marijuana is safer!

Opium... rare these days, was somewhat more common during the 70's in the form of opiated hashish.  It's apparently mellow, but very addictive.

Cocaine... burns out your nose and doesn't give much in return. Avoid.

LSD: It's been said, that President Kennedy, AG Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe all used LSD before it became illegal in the 1960's. Allegedly created by the CIA to find out if it could be the ultimate truth drug, it leaked it's way out to the elite... along with Dr. Timothy Leary who you might want to look up on Wikipedia. When it became popular among 60's hippies, that caused the concern that made it illegal. Pure LSD is not generally harmful, the problem is it's often poorly made, or strychnine is used, a poison that causes deleterious and life-threatening consequences and lsd like hallucinations, and a swollen tongue, if you're lucky, maybe death. In the early 1970's "windowpane" was common... and it was generally quite pure, and relatively safe... then came blotter acid... named as such because it came in the form of tiny squares of blotter paper soaked in the LSD. This is where anything could be in it. It's not the 60's or 70's anymore... my suggestion... steer clear of acid.

Psilocybin aka Magic mushrooms ... interesting mushroom. Many new pharmacological uses being discovered all the time. But it's illegal.

Peyote... would love to try it someday. But illegal.

RE: meth, heroin, glue, many prescription drugs, choking games, stalking, hurting others... etc... NO! Please don't. You might want to check out the yellow pages for a psychologist... seriously, there is a limit to what people can endure.I mean coca leaf chewing is one thing, but injecting drugs, inhaling glues, come on. And don't accept strange pills sold as if they're speed or downers... they could be anything. Literally! Been there in the 70's... seen it all.

Be true to yourself. Try to keep to a minimum, those persons who cause you to be uncomfortable or that create disharmony. Only you can make the choices that become your future. Hard choices sometimes. Only you are responsible for your actions.

It can be the best of times, or the worst of times, after age 18... there's a lot to discover, a lot to learn, a lot to experience for the first time. Don't let it overwhelm you... just like everyone else, someday you will die. But don't use youth as an excuse to decide now is that time. It takes many years to eventually, to find out who you truly are... and no matter how alone or unusual you may think you are, there are going to be others in the world similar to yourself - doing the best they can too, and if not simply getting by, might actually feel pretty good.

Reality is subjective by nature, no matter how often we might be told there is only ONE WAY. If you take "the road less traveled, beware of wild animals, and especially do-gooders who may try to force you back on the main road. You never have just two choices in life, you always have at least three. Over, under, or progressively forwards...


  1. Can't get that kind of advice just anywhere.

  2. Thanks Mary... I guess one really can't. A difficult post, and not done yet.