10,000 / 1,500 / 15: Breaking the Silence on Responsible Drug Use

May 29th, 2013

This article is a sub-section of another article which discusses the messages of my comics War on Drugs and Rat Park.

Here’s the deal: I’m 27 years old, which means I have been alive on this planet for 10,000 days.

During that time, I used alcohol on about 1,500 days. Additionally, I used caffeine (from tea) about 1,500 times.

Also during that time, I used ‘magic’ mushrooms 7 times, cannabis 4 times, MDMA 3 times, and LSD 1 time. That’s a total of 15 days where I used illicit recreational drugs. And you know what? I had positive experiences on all occasions.
Graph of days sober, using alcohol and illegal recreational drugs by 27 year old Stuart McMillen.
There is a two orders-of-magnitude difference between the two groups of drugs (1,500 versus 15). Yet why does it somehow seem sleazier, naughtier or more ‘wrong‘ to admit to using the second group of drugs?

Big questions

Why is it natural for people to assume that I wasn’t paralytically drunk for all of the 1,500 times I used alcohol? That most of the time I merely had a quiet drink or two?

Why is it natural for people to assume that I was chronically inebriated for all of the 15 times I used illegal drugs? That I was somehow gambling with my life, spiralling out of control, by recklessly pumping poison through my veins?

Why do we recognise that people can drink alcohol responsibly, yet automatically associate all illegal drug use with ‘misuse’?

Why are all drugs developed after the discovery of alcohol automatically prohibited and feared?

Why do Westerners scoff at Islamic laws forbidding the drinking of alcohol, yet see nothing odd about our own laws which forbid the consumption of drugs which aren’t alcohol?

Why do we understand that alcohol can be both good and bad? Why do we find it acceptable for a newspaper to contain reports about alcohol-fuelled violence, and also ‘fine wine’ reviews? Yet any mention of people enjoying recreational drugs is accused of ‘sending the wrong message’?

Why do we think that legalising drugs would automatically lead to people drug-driving and arriving to work stoned? Why do we assume that floodgates will be opened, and all lawfulness and decency will be swept away?
Three drug pills black and white illustration.

Speaking out

Although I’ve written about drugs through my two comics, this is the first time I’ve publicly disclosed my personal drug-taking history. I thought this information could be helpful to other people, in the same way cartoonist Allie Brosh recently disclosed her personal experiences with depression.

Perhaps the reason I’m so comfortable discussing drugs is because drugs aren’t a big deal for me. I don’t compulsively crave them, and I’ve never compulsively craved them. In fact, as I get older I’m becoming more and more bored with my country’s all-occasions obsession with alcohol.

So why should I speak out about drugs at all? Why should I publish this article which essentially admits that I am a criminal?

The reason is this: because my experiences are the norm. They are the mainstream. They are the rule, and not the exception.

In my country, Australia, a significant minority of the population has used illegal drugs. This figure becomes a slight majority in certain age groups. While some people can have problems with drug addiction – and I certainly don’t want to diminish their struggles – the mainstream experience is one of moderation. Typically, Australians have a few drug experiences in their twenties. They then either move on with their lives totally, or continue low-level usage throughout the rest of their lives, perhaps by saving drug-taking for special occasions.

Marijuana and ecstasy are particularly popular in Australia. Yet most ecstasy users restrict their intake to only 1-2 days per year. This is hardly the nightmarish stuff of destitution and addiction. If anything, it’s almost sickeningly responsible
3 pills cartoon black and white.

An argument with two sides and a vacuum

I chose to write about drugs because the responsible drug users are the mainstream, not the fringe. Yet in this ‘man bites dog‘ journalism climate, the only stories that get reported are those of overdoses and addictions.

I don’t want to dismiss these sad stories: they are tragedies. But they are also outliers. And often symptomatic of other psychological problems, or unintended side-effects of drug prohibition laws.

In the eye of the media there are two ‘sides’ to the drug issue: the anti-drug ‘moral majority’ (who usually don’t seem like they’ve ever tried drugs), and the enthusiastic users (who often seem overly-fixated on drug-taking).

There is a massive vacuum of silence from responsible drug users which allows these two extreme positions to be the only two alternatives in the way the public conceives the drug issue. What’s missing are the voices of the responsible, occasional drug users. Without their voices in the mix, the words of the chronic Cheech & Chong-types play right into the hands of the anti-drug brigade.

Three drug pills black and white illustration.

Why me?

“Why speak out?” “What’s the point of rocking the boat?” That was my mentality 12 months ago. But after reading Australian author Lisa Pryor’s excellent A Small Book About Drugs (2011), I immediately flipped perspective.

Instead I asked myself “why not me?”

A Small Book About Drugs by Lisa Pryor 2011

I’m not trying to glorify drug use. In fact, I’m trying to do the exact opposite. I’m trying to show what a minor part of my life that drugs play. By speaking out in a clear-headed way, perhaps I can help change things for the people who are trampled by our current drug criminalisation laws.

Should I admit this?

Yes, I am a little nervous about declaring this to the world for the first time. Yes, I wonder what will happen when I press the ‘publish’ button on this article. (What’s that white van doing out the front of my house!?)

But if no one speaks out, the silence just lasts longer and nothing changes. I see this admission like being an unmarried person in the 1950s speaking about living with their partner. Yes, cohabitation was illegal in many parts of the world, but these laws were largely wiped off the books by brave people willing to break the taboo.

Unjust laws which criminalise large sections of the population lose legitimacy once those affected speak up. One by one society sees that it is not just faceless wrongdoers and ne’er-do-wells who could be punished by the laws. It is family and friends.

So here I am: a responsible drug-user – albeit primarily alcohol and caffeine – sharing my story.
Three round pills drawing.

Start a conversation

Feel free to use this article as the basis of starting a conversation with your friends and family.

The further the conversation spills beyond those who you might normally discuss drugs with, the better.

The point isn’t to see who has the most notches on their belt, but rather to discuss what you’ve done, what you haven’t done, what was good, and what was bad.

The more we talk, the less scary it becomes. Start a conversation.

This article is a sub-section of another article which discusses the messages of my comics War on Drugs and Rat Park.

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  1. John Graeser says:

    “Perhaps the reason I’m so comfortable discussing drugs is because drugs aren’t a big deal for me. I don’t compulsively crave them, and I’ve never compulsively craved them. In fact, as I get older I’m becoming more and more bored with my country’s all-occasions obsession with alcohol.

    So why should I speak out about drugs at all? Why should I publish this article which essentially admits that I am a criminal?

    The reason is this: because my experiences are the norm. They are the mainstream. They are the rule, and not the exception.”

    What if you were the exception rather than the rule, but did not know it when you started? my guess is you wouldn’t be around to create this valuable material. Thanks for all your great work.
    An Integral, four quadrant approach, to addiction is worth considering.
    Rat Park is “true but partial” as is the biochemical demon approach.
    What if we considered the contribution of all these approaches together.

  2. Raw says:

    Living in Australia you really see the shit end of the drug-stigma stick. It’s ridiculous how stigmatized drugs are in this country. In essentially every other western country drug legalization is slowly gaining ground yet here it is losing ground. This is partly because the entirety of our media is controlled by a single corporation and partly because scientific progress has bees stifled by our laws & government.

    Regarding the media I find it ridiculous that anyone in Australia still watches and reads the news. The stories never change and every news company has the same stance on every important issue. The only issues the differ on is meaningless stuff such as the common ‘Is this single specific person is a perpetrator or victim.’ story that’s run almost every night. Taking a single trip overseas or just reading some online non-Australian news reveals how Australian news appeals purely to bias and narrow-mindedness. It reveals just how much is silenced by our media monopoly and how they do not want us to actually think about the important issues. Our media is paid to convince the Australian people that there is a single correct side to every important issue and that is should be defended irrationally.

    The Australian media has only 1 stance on every important issue:
    Immigrants – Deport
    Asylum Seekers – Drown
    Drug users – Force into poverty
    Poor people – Force into homelessness
    Homeless people – Starve them
    Welfare users – Force into slave labour
    Education – Privatize
    Hospitals – Privatize
    Law enforcement – Worship
    Police Brutality – Non-existent
    Rich people – Admire
    Equality – Everyone has an equal opportunities
    Equity – Everyone should work or work harder
    Overseas conflicts – Ignore unless the UK gets involved
    Drugs – They’re a problem
    Pharmaceuticals – They’re a solution
    White Australian Doctors – All-knowing Gods
    Ethnic & Non-Australian Doctors – Unlicensed psychopaths
    Government corruption – Accidental yet beneficial
    Elections – Both parties are opposites
    Australians – The luckiest people in the world
    Unaustralians – The worst people in the world
    Americans – Hate them but idolize their culture
    British – Hate them but idolize their government
    Rest of Europe – Almost as well-off as Australia
    Muslims – Are a single degenerate race which threatens us all
    Asians – Are a single advanced hyper-intelligent race which threatens us all
    Russians – Dangerous communists
    South Americans – Who?
    Africans – Completely devastated by famine, war and disease
    Helping others – Give to charities
    Charities – The more you give the more you care
    Actually helping others – Stupidly dangerous
    Scientists – Deciders of truth, expert witnesses of everything
    Science – Anti-religion
    Religion – Anti-science
    Australian History – Not much happened until the 1950’s
    Aboriginal Australians – All sniff petrol, and should forgive their invaders
    Male Criminals – Are all violent rapists who should stay in prison
    Female Criminals – Harmless accessories to the acts of male criminals
    Technology – Waste of money
    Oppression – Only women can be oppressed
    Love – Don’t forget valentines day
    Valentines day – The one day you should show love
    Alcohol – Safe and “Australian”
    Drunk-Driving – We need random police checks
    Random police checks – Keep you safe
    Drunk-Violence – Entirely the fault of nightclubs
    Nightclubs – Dangerous scum-holes, shut them down
    Casinos – Safe places to drink
    Gambling – Completely safe
    Food – Eat whatever you want just don’t be vegan
    Vegans – Loud, opinionated and want to make meat illegal
    Fast food – Death sentence
    Supermarket Food – Completely safe, drug-free and healthy
    Healthy food – Too expensive
    Vegan food – Impossibly expensive
    The News – Accurate unbiased facts

    I’m so sick of the damned country.

  3. Frank says:

    I’ve been a responsible drug user for 15 years.
    I Consumed kilos of weed and had many different psychedelics for a total of more than a hundred times (LSD, SHROOMS, amanita, DMT, DOB, LSA, 2-CB). I never missed a single hour of work because of my use and i live a responsible life. I’ve never given my money to organized crime but to little and peaceful chemists. I’ve never taken drugs during my worktime or whenever i was responsible of something.
    Psychedelics + meditation gave me great experiences that I jealously conserve in my heart.
    I ended up not taking anything illegal anymore because now I feel responsible for the wellbeing of another person and i won’t risk to go to jail now.
    These stupid drug policies obliged me to choose between taking care of a loved one and living my spiritual life (yes, psychedelics are part of it, like it has been for most people in the whole history of our specie).
    There’s clearly something terribly wrong in all this.
    And yes, this is my first “coming out” on the internet.
    Thank you for reading my story.
    F

  4. Ubo says:

    I feel you man.

  5. Sandra says:

    Ive rocked back and forth between responsible and irresponsible drug use depending on my mental health or lack thereof, probably due to a lack of spiritual health…..yes, Jesus has saved me from the thros of addiction of heroin, crack and alcohol….i don’t buy the ‘once an addict always an addict mantra and now am able to quietly enjoy a glass of wine or beer every now and then without feeling the need to plant myself at the nearest bar…..im also in pain management and am able to comply with this absurdly low dose of opiates which Im prescribed, it handles the pain and I realize that due to past use it would take 1/3 of the bottle for me to experiance any sort of high or euphoria…but then again, opiates treat so much more than just pain and why they stopped prescribing them for those things is betond me…i see no reason why adults shouldnt be allowed to self medicate if thats what it takes for them to function and lead a normal life…i appreciate your blog and am now going to look for your comics! ( ive never heard if thwm, this will be fun)

  6. Carmen says:

    This is a great read. With this essay and your two related comics, you’ve constructed a very clear and reasoned argument to challenge the often extremist and hypocritical position of general society towards drugs.
    Perhaps the societal norm of blaming certain problems on drugs has arisen because it is easier to blame problems on a physical substance than it is to confront the prospect that these problems are consequences of social injustices that we all (or at least the vast majority) play a part in creating and maintaining.

  7. Anna says:

    This is an excellent comments discussion. Correction: THIS IS THE FIRST excellent comments discussion I’ve encountered on the world wide web. (i like calling that). I don’t know what magic dust you applied to your blog sauce but it seems you actually broke the code which heretofore required every comment section to become derailed by Jesus and / or the KKK. The thoughtful manner in which Stuart revealed his less than epic drug use was both brave and slightly adorable. (Did anyone else imagine their own stats in the life long drug use pie chart?) ha-ha-ha…I’m almost 50 yrs old. so, …. i’m laughing a little about how different our pies look…but it’s still brave and I commend you for stepping up. I haven’t. you have. it’s good. and makes for a fine social commentary. I’m probably going to archive the article and comments for my own files. As an example of what responsible drug use could look like or at least what responsible discourse DOES look like. and the beneficial social media side effects it may induce.

    (i liked the Chinese medicine guy and Lisa and Patricia…all good apposing points . We have to think things through this way. A lot to consider and many valid reasons pro and con. This forum is the modern day Athens. It is the marketplace of ideas we love so dearly we named it the First Amendment. ) ….just like drugs, some is bound to take it to far.
    hey: here’s a cartoon idea Stuart:

    THE FIRST AMENDMENT:…keep twerking America! Who’s got your back?

    hahaha or something like that.

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  9. micah says:

    dude, nice work here and on ‘rat park.’

    i fully agree that people need to start opening up about their drug use, to start exorcising the demon of the war on drugs (which really is a war on people who use drugs, with their families and communities as the collateral damage).

    i am no poster child for responsible drug use. i am a member of Narcotic Anonymous, SMARTRecovery, Heart of Recovery, and a continuing care treatment program. despite the damage my addiction and i inflicted on myself (mostly, thankfully) and my wife, i think my story is important, too. that’s not the point here, though; i just wanted to state my frame of reference.

    despite, or because of, my drug addiction, i totally support massive reform of the western world’s drug laws. when legislators from districts 300 miles from one iota of inner city crime get out there, play “tough-on-crime,” and help pass laws responsible for the destruction of whole communities, i see those put behind bars as political prisoner. not that they are there for their political persuasion, but they are there because some politician wanted to wield and maintain their power. they are victim, primarily, of the political system, not their drugs or even their own drug-taking actions. had i grown up in a ghetto, i surely would have been arrested and charged with drug crimes during my teens and 20s. i didn’t, though, and was able to: get financial aid for college, vote, pass a background check, and get decent jobs.

    there’s something horrifically sickening about this picture.

  10. Vigilo says:

    I must express I have been inspired by the articles and comics, and I greatly respect the work of the author.

    Living in a world with diverse culture and believe, I would like to express my point of view. I am a Chinese Christian; as such, Confucian, Taoism and Chinese medicine also add up to my believe.

    In my community, it is a strong and firm believe that using drug to artificially enhance performance, or for recreational purpose is unhealthy, if not immoral in the ethical sense.

    While there has been comparison between “coffee”, “caffeine”, “alcohol” and then, “drug”, one must be very careful in distinguishing their form. For instance, “coffee” generally has much lesser potency than the chemically isolated and purified “caffeine”, so is “wine” as compared with “spirit”. It can be generally commented that the more “purified” is a substance from its original nature form, the higher potency and side effect it has, and has a higher tendency to be abused. Another example, “coca leave” and “cocaine”. However said, in accessing a particular substance and situation, an utilitarian approach shall be adopt, such as “coca leave tea” may have some benefit in countering some particular medical condition, and “cocaine” has been used as a local anesthetic. Disadvantage must not excess that of the advantage, and I believe all readers are familiar with this concept.

    However, the exact “type” and rationale for assessing the “benefits” must also take on a socio-cultural aspect, which must involve the aspect of ideology. It is not hard to observe that unrestrained individualism is very common mindset, and so many people would like the society to alter the law, in order to accommodate their desire and liking or whatever ideological framework they are advocated to adopt. However we must always remember, law is made for common good, not personal interest.

    A discussion solely depending on “objective facts” can last for days if not weeks, and always be renewed when new discovery or scientific report be made, according to whatever agenda they are behind. Which is why I would like to discuss some age old wisdom of natural law.

    In such context, deliberate abuse of substance is immoral, as a person’s body is sacred in its own sense. There maybe some positive aspect of substance use, but we believe, in its essence, things must be used according to their natural purpose. And for the chemically prepared and purified “drug”, they are reserved for medical condition, and not for recreational use, nor even “entheogenic” approach, which may be observed in some “religion” (which, I would like to make a distinction between religion in the sense of common good, public institution). Use of substance in “recreational” sense, which is outside their proper medical purpose, is being greatly rejected. While there exist some scientific claim that any use of recreational drug will mess up one’s brain, my personal opinion is happiness and inspiration must be achieved with “natural” mean, and not chemically induced. Only then a person will achieve a far better personality growth. In discussion, we often regard a person as a rational being; but in fact we must always remember all people has emotional side and must experience hardship in times.

    It would still take very long for me to discuss the particular believe and view on particular situation. But it is not tiring to reiterate that every situation must be examined separately, and an overall generalization shall be avoided.

    Now, for some practical case:

    Tea. Everyone drink it, and child shall not drink them in high quantity as their body is sensitive. Tea has a general benefit and varied effect according to their varietal. Green tea is “cooling”, red tea is “warming”. Aged tea is best.

    Coffee: considered an adult drink, while the Chinese doctor do not recommend them to be taken like water, and precaution shall be taken, just like the Chinese are very cautious in balancing their food intake. In Chinese medicine, “Liver” is the powerhouse, and “Kidney” can be viewed as the “battery” or energy source for it. Coffee can promote the work of the “Liver” in expense of the “Kidney”, which can make people weak, dry (and other “deficient in Yin” symptom). You are actually advancing your energy and must still rest afterwards.

    Caffeine and other OTC drug: shall be used carefully according to medical need.

    Cigarette: being disliked and banned in public place. Quite a taboo. Bad for health in every sense.

    Recreational drug: generally frowned upon. Socially unacceptable. However if used in prudent medical sense, that is regarded as alright.

  11. Patricia says:

    Quite often we as a community must make choices that are for the good of the weak rather than the strong. This assertion may not seem fair or it may rankle our individualistic natures (which is cultural, by the way), I suggest that taking care of ourselves requires taking care of our communities, the strong and the weak. While it may be true that most people can choose to live free of addictions even when given access to addictive drugs, many cannot. The lack of accessibility is what may be saving the lives of countless individuals who do not have the same environment/genetic makeup/interests as you. (When I say “lives,” I do not just mean physical lives.) How much of our freedom do we give up out of love for our neighbor who cannot handle such freedom?
    Have you asked those who have been addicted whether they would prefer to have their favorite drug freely available to them? Those who have found their lives destroyed by addictive drugs may have a different view than those who can control themselves.
    Our world necessarily has rules — most of us would not murder someone even if it were legal; however, if killing others were not a crime, I am sure that the rate of murder would increase.
    You may say my comparison is faulty because of the extreme nature of murder or because murder is inflicting upon someone else whereas recreational drug use does not necessarily result in death and if it does it is not being inflicted upon another but upon oneself. But rather than getting hung up on the differences, if you can focus on the point of this comparison, it might help you to realize that being in a community means restricting one’s freedoms for the sake of the community.
    Look at poor Lisa below. She has discovered that weed is not harmful to her when I would argue that she needs a lifestyle change. If she has a disability that doesn’t allow her to work from 8 am – 9 pm, then that is where her community steps in to help. She shouldn’t have to go home and fill her lungs with poisons to relax. She’s only 22 years old. What is she going to be like in ten years? In 20 years? Ask Lisa then if she is still glad she could choose to use weed all those years. As a community we can choose to offer her drugs that enable her to forget work or we can help her find healthier ways to live.
    Another example is the trend toward making laws that prohibit texting while driving. We had the freedom to choose to text in responsible ways, but many people chose to text in ways that were dangerous to themselves and to others. Hence, laws are being made to forbid this; the threat of a hefty fine has truly helped many people choose to use the text feature of their phones responsibly.
    Just a few of my thoughts . . . !
    Patricia

  12. Lisa says:

    Hi!

    First of all, CREDS to you for posting this.
    I’ve been under the impression that ALL drugs are REALLY dangerous. And that you DIE if you smoke marihuana, take an exctacy pill, or eating some shrooms.

    My mother has smoked cigarettes since she was 11-12 years old, drinking alcohol since she was 15, and she has also been drinking coffee since she was 12. She can’t stop these habits. And I’m sure she has smoked weed at her younger days..
    My mother has been really strict with me, and didn’t want me to start smoking, drinking or taking drugs. I’ve tried cigarettes under 10 times. I don’t drink coffee, I did drink quite a bit when I was 16-19, but that was more about what everybody else did. I just wanted to go out and party with my friends. Now I don’t like how alcohol feels in my body. I’ve never taken any pills like exctacy. I havent eaten shrooms, or taken anything else. Just Marihuana.
    I am now 22 years old, and I tried marihuana for the first time when I was 21. I really liked the high, and how it felt in my body, and I felt that I had more control. And I wasn’t feeling ill the next day or when the high was out of my body. Now I feel that Marihuana helps taking my backpain away (I have scoliosis), and it takes my stress away.. It’s really great to come home from two jobs and just smoke a joint and relax.
    I’m at work from 08:00 in the morning to 21:00 in the evening.. So I’m usually so stressed out that I have some trouble eating or sleeping.. But when I smoke some weed, I just forget about what happened at work. I let it massage my body and ease the pain. When I’m out of weed, I don’t get any withdrawal symptoms. I just live my life. I smoke marihuana 1-2 weeks a month at most.
    All the things I’ve learnt about marihuana through media, parents, teachers and doctors, is wrong.

    I’m so glad more and more people stand for what they believe in. I believe in weed!

  13. Ole says:

    Thanks. More people should come out of the “closet” 🙂

    (really good comics too btw)

  14. Robert says:

    Bravo! Yes, yes to new, clear, open, transparent conversations. The ability to act and be responsible, in addition to the reality that plant-based “drugs” have been used for thousands of years by humans to access realms of higher consciousness.

    We have a lot to learn from our plant brothers and sisters, and so I sure support embarking into this whole topic with respect, curiosity, openness, and love.

    Thanks again for the great perspective…

  15. Daniel says:

    Well written. I particularly enjoyed your two comics and am delighted to have been introduced to the Rat Park research. A little background:

    Lately, the question of the legitimacy of our understanding of ‘Addiction to’ and ‘Addictive substances’ has been particularly challenged; especially the notion that a substance alone plays any real part of the problem.

    The reason for this is as follows: I have a massive Opiate tolerance. I also have a massive Amphetamine tolerance. Both are (mostly, with exception of occasional high strength Opiates) legitimately supplied. One may come to the conclusion that I’m running down the road to disaster right?

    Simply put, this didn’t happen. After I developed an appreciable Opiate tolerance (likely as high if not higher than a street heroin user), I stopped indulging. Why? Well, there was no point; there was no more warm and cuddly, there was more fall asleep, and I knew damn well that I couldn’t continue to double my dose in an exponential fashion. So I just stopped. No withdrawal, no compulsion, no particular motivation, I just got bored with Opiates.

    Amphetamine was/is similar. At first, they made me anxious. Then they made me highly productive and I loved taking them. I lost 10kg using responsibly and generally had a good 3 months. Then something happened. Amphetamine lost its euphoric effects. It still served its intended purpose, but I no longer felt like ‘1 more’ would be better; in fact, quite by accident, sometimes I just didn’t take any. Once again, no withdrawal, no repercussions, no big deal.

    Obviously I was quite curious. Now I discussed my findings with a legitimate user of medical Opiates; who has consumed a very large dose for over 5 years DAILY. He was recently supplied with a new, non opiate based nerve pain medicine. Literally the day he got that script filled, he Opiate use decreased by 75%. No withdrawal, no cravings, no nothing.

    Yet then I have a friend, who had a promising relationship with a beautiful young lawyer destroyed by said persons propensity for the illegal consumption of the above substances.

    How on earth can this be?

  16. Martin says:

    Amy, I’m sorry to disagree as the case scenario of California is exactly the wrong type of procedure depicted in rat pack. You are giving cannabis to a caged, lied and over stimulated society.

  17. Amy says:

    I completely agree. Experimental drug use was a healthy part of my development in my early twenties. How an individual uses any drug is very important, and this is something that should be taught in schools.

    However, I’m not sure that legalization is the answer. In California medical marijuana has been legalized for a few years now, and it’s very easy to get extremely potent mind-f*cking quality weed. What I’ve seen with the change in legislation is that while the authorities (including parents) have become more relaxed about people using, the younger generations are seriously abusing this drug. I’m seeing a lot of addiction, mental disturbances, depression, general apathy, and even accidents as a result (there’s no breath test for cannabis).

    • Mike says:

      Really? I’ve seen different. I live in southern california and I’ve grown up with the many many people in my generation who abuse weed. It’s not my thing, i’ve tried it a good amount of times but I just cant get into it. but I don’t look down on it either so when legislation came, I supported it, and at the same time I was worried people might over do it. It’s been a few years now and the excitement of legal weed has gone away now and I almost never see it anymore. People are not using as much as they used to or at least aren’t glorifying this ex taboo thing anymore. It’s much much more responsible now. Or if not, it’s not worse.

  18. NZFIEND says:

    Brilliant. RAT COMIC +1 by the way.

  19. Pingback: A bustle in the cage-row: the making of Rat Park addiction comic

  20. John says:

    Write to your local representative and DEMAND laws which are based on SCIENTIFIC consensus, not their out-dated ideology. This issue is bigger than just the mess of our drug laws and the harm they cause, it’s far more scary how slowly our laws lag behind science, or even common sense. Ie: drugs are a burden because of the cost to society of the associated crime (some of it violent). However, if all drugs weren’t prohibited (instead of just a few culturally accepted exceptions – culture not being in any way scientific btw), then there wouldn’t be any crime nor cost. The cost to health would likely stay the same or reduce (as it did in Portugal with decriminalisation), because NO SHIT, making things illegal doesn’t stop people from making, buying, selling, and using them. It just means that its up to gangs who like to shoot each other in the suburbs of Sydney to do it instead of farmers and/or scientists who can be heavily taxed or whatever.

    (Idontwanttoliveonthisplanetanymore.jpg)

  21. Brent says:

    Good stuff. Keep it up. And…

    Thanks!

  22. Taniwha says:

    Thanks for writing this. The hypocrisy of the enormous silent majority of silent smokers is difficult to stomach. When I grew up in NZ, it was never OK to talk about smoking at work (white-collar jobs) but when I emigrated to Aus 17 years ago I was very surrised to see how ‘normal’ it was to smoke weed, even in the management and upper-management circles I was moving in.

    Soon I realised that this just makes this hypocrisy even more shameless. The atittude from many seems to be ‘I already have a great dealer and I can get any drugs I want very easily, and I can also afford it. The wider issue of the horrific destruction of great swathes of society by the criminality attached to illicit drugs is simply not their problem.

    It’s not good enough. After taking a lead in SA and the ACT, Australia is now likely to legalise weed long after NZ. You should be embarassed by that if nothing else.

  23. Jonathan says:

    Fantastic article.

  24. Ryan says:

    Great! Thanks for writing this.

  25. Vinnie says:

    Nice write up! Thanks!

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