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09 October 2014

I like the way MDMA gives you a deep sense of connection to your friends

An anonymous drug user reveals why he regularly takes cocaine and ecstasy, and says it is time to talk honestly about the pleasures - and perils - of drugs.

I'm no fiend. Most nights I'd rather share a bottle of wine with some friends than stay up till 6am getting sweaty and boggle-eyed on a bender. But while I associate alcohol with talking about past experiences, I associate drugs with making new ones. Party drugs can often make a stranger feel like a confidant; a simple trip to a town centre feel like an Enid Blyton escapade.
I probably take class-A party drugs such as MDMA or cocaine once a fortnight, and have done since I was 16 (I'm 27 now). I like the way cocaine gives you a new lease of life, like a mushroom in Super Mario, to carry on with a night out. I like the way MDMA softens the edges of reality and gives you a deep sense of connection to your friends that you can never get when you meet them for dinner and they moan about their jobs. I like how when you're coming down from a pill another person's touch has a comforting, almost electric capacity. If you're suffering from exhaustion, anxiety or stress, recreational drugs can give you a bit of a leg-up.
Drugs can also be a total pain. Ecstasy can make you feel like you're floating in a cloud, but just as often it's an admin nightmare: you come up at different times from your friends; only half the people in a group remembered to get sorted and there's endless hassle at a party trying to get more. Even when you're having a great time, there's a self-doubting internal monologue running through the whole process: Have I done enough? Am I coming up? Do I look like a prick?
I would just like to have that conversation about drugs being sometimes brilliant and occasionally annoying. Yet I feel like there is no one who is willing to talk about drugs in those terms.
When children ask their parents where babies come from, they get a white lie – a stork delivers them, you find them in a cabbage patch, you order them from Ocado. That's the closest thing I can think of to explain the difference between the perception and the reality of drug use by young people in the UK. There is a societal stork myth that is propagated by the media and popular culture to hide a basic reality. Even users themselves are entirely unwilling to talk about drug-taking honestly. Everything in the drugs world tries to stifle this conversation. Take nightclubs. It doesn't take a genius to work out that staying up till 6am listening to dance music at an ear-splitting volume would not only be unenjoyable without some kind of mind-altering stimulant, but a painful test of endurance. Most people in big nightclubs are on drugs. The clubs know that: that's why they charge so much for entry and, often, for bottles of water. They know that not many people will be buying drinks. Most of them have in-house dealers too, so they can sort out their DJs. Bigger DJs put requests for drugs on their rider. "We just put it on expenses as 'fruit and flowers'," a promoter at a major nightclub told me this year. But there's still a stork charade, with the venue covered in posters promising to eject drug users and bouncers searching punters – but not too thoroughly. The pretence is that this could all be above board.
I suppose the reason for this false picture of drug-taking is that most people don't take drugs. The statistics show that only a small fraction of the UK population are regular drugs users, and a smaller fraction still do anything harder than weed. But drug use is not spread evenly across the country, nor across age groups. In my demographic – under 30, living in London, job in the creative industries, disposable income – almost everyone is a recreational drugs user.
Where I grew up in south London, it was pretty uncommon to find someone who didn't at least smoke weed. The children of more middle-class parents were taking cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and mephedrone almost every weekend. These were not reprobates ruining their lives: they were intelligent, bright people who got three As at A-level and went to good universities.
We would go to raves in places such as Camberwell and Hackney Wick, to warehouse venues where almost no one was over 18. White powders flowed as freely as the Fanta Fruit Twist and Malibu we were drinking. Festivals played a big part, too. Parents, even quite strict ones who wouldn't dream of letting their kids out past midnight, were happy to send their kids to music festivals, perhaps because of the reverent music-focused coverage in the media.


source: the Guardian. read more : http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/oct/05/ecstasy-mdma-anonymous-drug-user

 

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