Do you take the 5th? (and other stories)

Posted: March 12, 2011 in Drugs & Rock n Roll

And nah, I don’t mean of whiskey!

So, odd question here for the folks playing along at home, and going on back to the drug topic now….when folk you know, or heck, strangers, ask you if you use drugs or what kinds of drugs you use, do you fess up, lie, or uphold your right to not self-incriminate?  Does it depend on the person or setting?  Does it depend on the drug – as in, you will admit to smoking weed but not admit that hey, when the weekend rolls around and the mood hits ya, you might not be adverse to a bit of blow or some special mushrooms?  How do y’all handle questions and discussions about your own personal useage…if you use at all?

Also, how do you apply the concept of strata to drugs, drug use, and drug users?  Do you have a ranking system as for what is acceptable, what is tolerated, and what is outta the dang question?  Do you view people differently because of the drugs they do- for instance, does a person who smokes weed a couple times every day stack up differently in your head to a person who parties up with coke, X (E), or Special K on the weekends?  Do certain sorts of drugs or drug users scare, shock, offend you more than others?  Talk to me here people, I get curious about this kinda shit.

With me, it is a very “depends on” kinda situation.   Mostly cause people can be assholes.  Previous bloggy experience has proven to me that folk will assume (correctly or incorrectly) any gal who is now or has ever been a stripper or whatever has GOT to be a drug addict, and with those folk, a gal in that business who says “yeah, I’ve been known to smoke some weed with my friends now and then” suddenly equals a poor desperate soul in the business to pay for her crushing heroin addiction (rolls eyes).   This always sorta amused me because I am pretty certain a lot of the folk who are so quick to accuse gals in the sex biz of being addicts have prolly smoked more pot or consumed more booze or done more kinds of whatever than I have, let alone other women in the business of bein’ naked….but they, of course, do not have “drug problems”….

I also, personally, find the caste system of users interesting: In my head, an addict is an addict.  Doesn’t much matter what the drug is, if it is legal or not, so on, so forth…if one is an addict, one is an addict.  And yes, depending on the person and their addiction, well, some can be a shit ton more unpleasant to deal with than others for certain (heh, you put a pot head with no weed in the same room with a cigarette smoker with no smokes and I can pretty much promise the person jonesing for the legal drug is gonna be far more hostile and scary than the person lacking the illegal one…).  But I have found this sorta stratification happens to people who are not addicts too.  I mean, it seems to me that folk who are even just casual, even very casual, users of various drugs get classified and looked at very differently by a lot of people.  To me it’s never made much of a difference or rated a different reaction out of me.  I mean, if I know two people are casual users of whatever, and one says they occasionally smoke weed and one says they occasionally smoke crack…I pretty much consider them to be the same thing:  casual drug users.  With other folk, this is not so.  If you are one of the Not So folk and you don’t mind explaining why, I’d love to hear it…

And on that note, I will myself to ingest no caffeine at this hour ’cause I do wanna sleep eventually!

  1. polly says:

    Well obviously you don’t say what drugs you take in a job interview! Or on those dinky medical forms….

    Re, who I’d avoid – well anyone whose drug habit is out of control to the extent they’re a complete arsehole, can be someone you wouldn’t want to hang around with, but I’d say PARTICULARLY alcoholics and heavy coke users. I’m all in favour of recreational binge drinking – not so bothered about recreational cocaine use, but I wouldn’t avoid someone who did it – but real alcoholics yes.

    But then there are always people who can ingest massive quantities of anything and keep it together. One of my best friends is a pretty heavy recreational drug user (including coke) but she’s still at the top of her field.

    Re the sex industry – a lot of street sex workers, certainly in the UK, are supporting heroin addictions, and my answer to that (assuming they want to get out of sex work, which most do) is prescribe them heroin. Always has been. If you’re addicted and you get a regular clean supply of heroin, you can function pretty much the same as anyone else.

    For a long period of the twentieth century there was a ‘british system’ which officially prescribed neroin to addicts. Then it was stopped in favour of methadone, wihich is apparently much worse for you and rots your teeth. It’s favoured however because it doesn’t give a high. Ironically one of Margaret Thatcher’s chief advisers on the NHS was a heroin addict – but because he was a doctor he could get his hands on medical grade heroin easily. Interesting report here.

    It’s all the puritan impulse that lies underneath this. Basicallly the “war on drugs” is either about people who are terminally naive on the subject and think that anyone who uses drugs must be lying wasted in a squat, occasionally emerging to indulge in bouts of criminal activity, but also – and this is NEVER acknowledged – governments don’t want a load of people around who are just getting stoned and refusing to participate in capitalism. If we all grew our own weed, we could just sit around all day being happy at minimal cost, and not keeping the wheels of the economy turning.

    You can also see this in attitudes to alcohol – licensing laws were introduced in Britain during the first world war, to stop people being too drunk to work in munitions factories. There are periodical moral panics throughout history about drunkenness (Hogarth’s gin lane being a famous example).

  2. Not much of a user – I think I’ve smoked pot about twice, it was from my mum’s stash with her full knowledge and participation. Never really felt the urge to do so again, although if someone offered I’d be glad to join in!

    But even that level of usage, I’m cautious about who I share the info with (although not very cautious – I put the info on my OkCupid questionnaire!). Definitely dependent upon person and setting, although these days I rarely have reason to be asked by anyone I don’t already trust enough to share the info with.

    As for other users, I guess there are some drugs that make me more wary of the user than others, inasmuch as I would rather not be near them when they’re actually in the process of using. Sometimes it makes a difference depending on the type of person (alcohol a very big example there). But it doesn’t make me change my perception of a person much knowing they do this or that recreationally. Heck, if they’re functional when I’m around I couldn’t care less if they’re addicted as long as they don’t harm anyone else over it. (I’m a big fan of bans on smoking in public spaces, just because I don’t want to have to share someone else’s habit, but what people do in private with consenting adults is their business.) I guess part of it is that I struggle to read people at the best of times, so the more the (reputed) effect on behaviour the more nervous I am, because I’m that much less able to work out what might happen next.

  3. richy cairns says:

    To Quote you ((To me it’s never made much of a difference or rated a different reaction out of me. I mean, if I know two people are casual users of whatever, and one says they occasionally smoke weed and one says they occasionally smoke crack…I pretty much consider them to be the same thing: casual drug users. With other folk, this is not so. If you are one of the Not So folk and you don’t mind explaining why, I’d love to hear it…
    Hi hello again and loved reading your post,,,,,
    There was a day when myself & my son got to work at about 8am one day ( plastering ) we set out the dust sheets sealed the ceiling and walls b4 we got to slurp are cup of tea in the van at the front of the house and rolled a couple of fat weedy one,s,
    while puffin away an chattin shit a young man walk,s by at about 9am first thing in the morning with a can of super dooper strong can of beer in his hand quite happy an all,
    at this point me son say,s 2 me look dad an addict ???
    i looked @ me son puffed on me spliff and he did to ,
    ( by the way me son was 21 ) i said son life is an addict it all depends on how we look at it,,,,,
    just a short story

  4. rootietoot says:

    I have Special K 3 or 4 mornings a week. I like the kind with the strawberries

  5. I will cop to the reefer if it appears the questioner is asking because they are selling some, and here in the rabid anti-drug Bible Belt (does the name “Michael Phelps” meaning anything to you?) you have to grab it when it is available. Here in Bob Jones country, there are long dry spells and you need to prepare.

    Other than that, no. At my age, I am usually right in sizing up the reasons someone is asking. I have never outed myself to the ‘wrong’ person, if anything I am over-cautious compared to the kids. I am more amazed at the variety of people who smoke now. I went 23 years without smoking, and when I picked it up again, gollee, there are all these middle-class housewives and golfer-dads and wholesome athletes like Michael Phelps and… well… when I was younger, it was people like ME, not them. 🙂 Glad they’ve joined us, because respectability helps the case for legalization.

    As for addiction, I have to say, marijuana isn’t as addictive as even caffeine, for me. I would never, ever dream of trying to quit caffeine (I have, about three times, ARGH), but I find quitting pot for long periods pretty easy. Nicotine is the worst addiction I ever tried to beat, I think because I got up to 2 packs a day, then… just laid it down. (Holy shit, where is the rubber room?) I had no idea the hell that awaited me. No patches, no gum, none of that shit. The main thing that keeps me from picking it up again is how awful that was and I never want to go through it again, ditto alcohol…when I quit drinking, did not sleep for two. solid.weeks. I can quit smoking pot with virtually no side effects except lack of appetite, which is fine with me. There is also a certain hyper-alertness I don’t especially like (doubtless the reason I like it in the first place); I was officially diagnosed as “hypomanic” back in the day. (that particular diagnosis seems to have fallen out of fashion, LOL) But moderating caffeine seems to take care of it.

    When I am smoking regularly, need about 3-4 cups of coffee, as well as two Yerba Mate at work. If not, need only 1-2, one Yerba Mate. But yes, NEED is the word. 😛

    I think the caste system you describe developed among the poor, due to simple THEFT. Which type of addict is most likely to ransack your shit when you leave the room? Well, there’s your answer. We don’t trust them, period. And that’s where the caste system developed. No potheads ever stole $50 *right out of my purse* when I wasn’t looking…. but guess who did?

    • Ren says:

      “And that’s where the caste system developed. No potheads ever stole $50 *right out of my purse* when I wasn’t looking…. but guess who did?”

      A totally sober person?

  6. MCM says:

    DeLurking here…Person and setting dependant, yes, absolutely.
    I recently quit all my extracurricular activities, but back when I indulged in multiple ways, I would cop to smoking ganj first to gauge someone’s reaction. Then if they were also, um, experimentors, I would consider discussing the full extent of my experience. Or I would use terminology that would prick the hairs on a fellow voyagers neck and see if they would take the bait. I always enjoyed finding someone who I could discuss with, since I pass as a good girl so well.
    As to strata of drugs, herion scares the crap out of me. Needles and total oblivion do not interest me in the least. I think of smoking weed in the same vein as smoking cigarettes, just not as damaging as nicotine and all the other stuff they add. Coke and crank I understand, the draw I mean. Euphoria and boundless energy for hours on end? OK! Mushrooms and LSD, I enjoyed these quite a bit in high school and college, honestly they opened my eyes in a way that I am eternally grateful for. And I’ve never given much thought to prescription drugs for recreational purposes. I tried to enjoy Vicodin once, and I puked and fell asleep…no thanks.
    As drug users go, I try to be pretty open minded about others situations. We all have our reasons. When someone use is adversely affecting their family, I start to get judgy. (Knock wood) I don’t feel like I’ve ever been truly addicted, so I don’t really understand what it’s like to have that illness drive my behavior and choices.
    I think I’m most shocked by IV drug users who are able to inject themselves, in…interesting places sometimes.

    • Ren says:

      “I think I’m most shocked by IV drug users who are able to inject themselves, in…interesting places sometimes”

      In their own neck makes me cringe, having had a whole lotta needles stuck in my own…just gives me the heebies…same with between the toes. I just think… OW!

      And I am sorta with you on the gauging reactions thing…I gotta see who I think is “okay” before I say shit about shit to anyone.

      Ahh…Vicodin. I’ve taken it for actual pain before, and it never did much with HELPING the pain, but boy did I have fun and not so much care that i was IN pain lol.

  7. Roy Kay says:

    Not much of a user of anything, though every few years I’ve had pot. I ocassionally get drunk with intent to be silly. Tried one hit of coke once and should have tried more at the time.

    My take on using anything is that some people can function well on anything and some people can’t function well even on nothing. Fuck, seeing what legislators can fuck up sober, I have trouble thinking they could do worse totally zonked.

  8. I’ve noticed I have a tendency to be more comfortable and approving of weed, and halucenogenic drugs (mushrooms, acid, peyote, whatever) than other drugs. I’m neutral on E (I don’t use it because it would fuck with my already weird brain chemistry too much to be fun). I tend to dislike cocaine, though quite a few people I know have done it, so I tend to keep quiet on it. Just about everything else I tend to consider too dangerous and addictive.

    When it comes to my drug use, I’m fairly open with people. Sometimes I feel like, as someone who is not perceived as a pot smoker by the general population (people are *always* surprised I like weed, since I don’t fit the stoner stereotype you see in the movies) that I ought to be out about it when I can. (Its the ‘see, look, weed isn’t that bad, look at me! I have a job, two degrees, I’m highly motivated, I get shit done and I’m smart!)

    When it comes to other people’s drug use though, I tend to reserve my opinion until I get to know them better. In my experience, its less about what they do, and more about who they are. If you can do what you like to do, but still live and function in this world and interact with the rest of us, keep on truckin’. If you suddenly become a huge pile of mess who can’t basically function at life and then dump away all your hopes and dreams, thats a problem. (I had a friend in HS who had all sorts of great goals and ideas – she wanted to do comedy, to apply to Juliard, and damnit, she could have done it – but then she started smoking weed, popping pills and snorting coke, and now she’s waiting tables and unhappy about it).

    Its like alcohol or tobacco – if you can use it safely and recreationally, I’m cool with it. When you get, say, stupid drunk and fall down the stairs at a party and puke in someone’s shoes, then I’m not so approving of it. I tend to look at my own tobacco habit that way (and my weed habit) – when I’m doing it so much that its getting in the way of life, I stop.

    I also personally watch why I do things. There was a point where I was so depressed working in the funeral home I was at that I was drinking almost every night to get to sleep, and drinking and smoking and eating all weekend because I was so upset. Even though it wasn’t actively getting in the way of what I was doing, I stopped because it was for the wrong reasons. It wasn’t fun anymore, it was just to get by. So, not so great.

  9. Stone Fox says:

    I’m catching up, but going backwards.

    i work in a hospital and in my own experience i have learned this: addicts are definitely addicts, no matter the drug. self-admitted weekend crack user? has no problem going without for four days while his shoulder heals. morbidly obese woman? freaking the FUCK OUT because she had to fast for a whole day waiting for her surgery. alcoholic old lady? has no idea why she’s got the shakes, thinks she’s gonna die, can’t stay awake for more than 5 minutes running. young guy who abuses prescription pain killers? cranky as fuck.

    i definitely look at drug users differently depending on the drug. dope smokers are far less ‘dangerous’ than people who are addicted to heroin, crack, alcohol, or meth. i base that on the severe physical addiction that comes with those four, which i think is the basis for the user’s “anything to get a fix” mentality and the crime that inevitably comes with it.

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