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tWBS: Good morning, Class.
Class (half asleep): Good morning, Seamus.
tWBS: Hey, that’s… Professor Seamus to you!!!!
Class (fully asleep): *snoring*
tWBS: OK, fine. But just so you know, today we’re talking about drugs.
tWBS: Oh, now I’ve got your attention, huh? But please, save your questions until the end. And Miss Spears? Please try to pay attention this time…
….Also, I’ll happily take your questions privately, in my office, after class. Yes, you can definitely bring your friends too.
….No, not the guys!!!!
Today we’re going to have a brief-ish overview of drugs. This is an introductory course. And for our purposes here, we’re going to restrict this lesson to “psychoactive” drugs. That is to say, drugs which produce a “high” in one form or another. We’re not going to go into antibiotics (though God knows some of you nasty bastards could use that knowledge…see me after class) or contraceptives (I promised Philip Rivers I wouldn’t)…. or any other myriad drug classes. If you’ve got a cardio/hypertension/kidney issue, and your Angiotensin II is causing you problems and you need advice on your ACE Inhibitor dosage? Again…. see me after class.
Wake up Miss Spears!!!!!! This is about getting high!!!!!
There she is. Good girl.
OK, in all seriousness, there are several different systems used to classify psychoactive substances depending upon whom you ask. And frankly, none of those systems is perfect. Mostly because each and every substance is an entity unto itself, different from every other. And also with differing effects in each individual. But for simplicity, we’ll have to to do it this way….
This includes things like Cocaine (Coke, Crack, Rock), Amphetamines (Crystal Meth, Crank, Bennies, Uppers) and MDMA (Ecstasy, X, Mollies, Skittles).
Generally speaking, these drugs accelerate both the activity in the central nervous system, and one’s metabolic rate in general. They tend to increase energy and awareness. They can make one feel more alert and more focused. The problem with these drugs is two-fold, however.
For some people, the effect they bring is extremely euphoric. To a frightening degree, almost. While sadly, their duration of effect is generally short-lived. Thus the vicious cycle begins. Tolerance kicks in, and then one needs to ingest increasing dosages more and more frequently to reach the same high.
Then you die.
The other problem with these drugs is that they can enhance negative behaviours as well. What I mean by that is that many people on these drugs become paranoid and angry. That, in combination with the central nervous system being overstimulated, can become very difficult for the people around them. ie…people on these drugs often act like violent assholes.
I’ve personally never tried Meth or X. Nor will I. Ever. But that shit can kill you on the first try. Especially X. People don’t realize how much that raises your metabolic rate. If you’re doing X, drink a shitload of water. No shit.
And while I’ve never smoked the rock, I have done the (very) occasional line of coke from time to time. Snorting coke never really did much for me to be honest. For me at least, it’s not worth the money.
Other popular stimulants of abuse are those such as Adderall, Vyvanse or the like. Technically still in the amphetamines family, these are a little different chemically however. Most often prescribed for kids with ADHD or for people with narcolepsy, they’ve become very popular for folks who just don’t have time to sleep enough. Their paradoxical calming effects in kids with ADHD makes them very useful there when properly prescribed. But in adults who don’t have narcolepsy, they’re nothing more than a crutch. They are unfortunately very easy to come by, and when abused to a high enough degree can be very damaging to the nervous system or the cardiovascular system.
Nicotine and Caffeine also fall into the class of stimulants. But for now we’ll gloss over those because we have to save time to talk about the good drugs. What are the good drugs????
Now we’re talking. Professor Seamus really likes the depressants. But still, let’s be organized about this.
MISS SPEARS!!!! STOP THAT!!!!!!
I promise I brought enough for the whole class. There’s no need for that. Yet. Please button your shirt back up. Until later at least.
Most of the rest of the “drugs of abuse” are depressants. But they are not all created equal, so we’re going to further break them down into sub-categories and we’ll do this in a pro vs con fashion…more or less.
(Heroin, Oxycontin, Vicodin, etc)
Pro: They’re awesome!!!! Physically and emotionally/mentally relaxing. Most often prescribed for pain control, but some also for cough suppression. Recreationally speaking, they’re one of my favorites. Though it’s been awhile, quite frankly. Perhaps I should bash my ugly face into the pavement again? For some people, the euphoria produced is very pleasant. I happen to be one of those people, FWIW.
Con: Addictive. Very addictive for some people. Tolerance can build quickly and then sometimes you get into that “Then you die” territory without even knowing it. Opioids suppress the respiratory centers of the brain. And while the same building of tolerance does reduce this effect to some degree on a dose dependent scale, just like it does with the “high” itself, it’s not an equal reduction. This is why there are so many Opiate/Opioid related overdose deaths. Sad but true.
(Valium, Xanax, Ativan, etc)
Pros: Generally used for their calming effects/muscle relaxation. Useful for anxiety disorders for many people. Also helpful as a sleep aid for severe sleep disorders. Can be used for treatment of seizure disorders as well, though usually either in conjunction with other anti-seizure medications, or in injectable form in medical facilities during actual seizure events (status epilepticus it’s called, btw). They can also be very useful when one is withdrawing from alcohol (which is really just an extension of their relaxation/anti-seizure effects)
Cons: Much like Opiates/Opioids, these can be very addictive. Tolerance can build quickly without the user even realizing it. Also like the Opiates/Opioids, these suppress respiratory function in the brain, but also suppress the muscles which make us breathe. DO NOT EVER TAKE THESE WITH ALCOHOL. Also, for some people, these drugs can have the exact opposite effect intended. Another paradoxical reaction thingy. Which is to say for some people, they can cause increased anxiety and agitation. When that happens it is not pleasant for the user or the people around them. Trust me on this, I know from where I speak. Don’t fuck around with these recreationally. If your doctor prescribes them, take them as directed on the label. And like I said already, no alcohol with these please.
(LSD, Peyote, Shrooms, etc)
Pros: Not many. Some people enjoy the effect of not being themselves for a little while I suppose. But that’s kinda the point, you’re not yourself and you have no control more or less. And the effects last a long time relatively speaking. If you decide to do any hallucinogen, make sure you’re in a safe environment and that you don’t have to go anywhere for the next 12-24 hours. The only Hallucinogen I’ve ever done is shrooms on a couple of occasions, and I did a “pussy” dose each time. And I was still righteously fucked up the next day.
Cons: See above.
(Paints, Volatile liquids/gases, Pretty much anything in an aerosol can)
Pros: Absolutely none. Do not do this.
Cons: It will kill your brain quickly. Do not do this.
(PCP, Special K)
Pros: Again, recreationally speaking….none.
Cons: Just don’t do it. Being in the profession I’m in, I have easy access to Ketamine (Special K) which is used in Veterinary Medicine as an anesthesia/tranquilizer in cats and horses most commonly. When it got popular as a recreational drug (and after my clinics had been burglarized repeatedly in attempts to steal it) I got curious. And I tried it. I DO NOT recommend it. It was quite unpleasant. Since then, I have also never dosed a cat or a horse with only Ketamine, but have taken to the habit of adding other anesthetics to the mix in an attempt to reduce their negative experience as well during recovery. I mean if I’m cutting their balls off, the least I can do is not give them a bad trip in the process. Right?
If you don’t think of alcohol as a drug, then you need to think again. This is not a judgement, FWIW. I drink a lot. Way more than I should sometimes. But Alcohol is the most abused drug on the planet. And in excess, it is very damaging to the body and psyche. In extreme excess doses (alcohol poisoning) it will also shut down the respiratory centers in your brain and you will die. I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m saying do it in moderation. Your liver will thank you later. And if anyone around you tells you that you might have a problem with alcohol, then you probably do.
At least consider the possibility before dismissing it out of hand.
Second after alcohol as far as worldwide (ab)use. The difference being that it’s not legal in most jurisdictions like alcohol. Ironically, it’s also less damaging to the body and much less addictive.
Everyone here knows I love weed. I’ve talked about it before. And in future courses here at the university, it will get talked about more in depth again, as will some of the others I’ve touched on here.
But for now all I’ll say is this….
If I had to choose one recreational drug, and only one, to have readily available for the rest of my life when I so desired to have such a thing; and weighing all of the pros and cons of all of these substances….including addiction, physical and mental effects, and potential negative effects long term to the body…?
Weed would be the hands down winner. For me personally, at least.
But as I said at the outset, everyone is different. And the effects of all of these drugs affect everyone differently. Just do me one favor? If you’re going to use/abuse any of these substances, at least educate yourselves about what it is you’re using. It could save your lives.
…Follow me…..I’ve got a joint with your name on it.
I also have some Marijuana.