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Don’t do drugs, m’kay?

We’ve all been in those lectures before. I think they started in grade six for me. A police officer will stand in front of the class and tell you all the ways your life will be ruined by pot. Then he moves on to the harder stuff and you internalize it. Until high school, of course, when people start smoking pot and lead their completely normal—not ruined by pot—lives.

What else could that officer been wrong about? Turns out a lot. You’ve probably noticed by now the people around you, and likely some of the people you know, do drugs and lead completely normal lives.

If you’ve never done them, drugs – especially hallucinogens – sound awesome. The Beatles and Pink Floyd clearly took drugs and it made their music awesome.

You’ve probably heard the stories of your friends who’ve become better people from their “mind blowing” experiences or they regale stories of becoming a Jedi or being a child again and experiencing childhood with the knowledge of an adult.

The part that is normally left out by police and concerned adults is this: drugs can be very fun, and usually, pretty safe. Until they’re not.

Up until a couple weeks ago, I’d lost four people to drug use. Today, it’s five.

Their deaths or permanent vegetative states could have been avoided with some very practical advice instead of the abstinence only approach. So here it is:

1) Google. Research the drug you are planning on doing and make sure it sounds like something that is going to be fun for you. Read everything about the drug you are interested in. What are the trips are like, side effects, the coming down. Can you sober yourself up if you’re having a bad trip? How do you make it through a bad trip? Don’t half-ass this research like you do on papers due tomorrow for a class you don’t care about. This could be life or death.

2) In that research find out how the drug you are looking at affects young brains. Most drugs can have a lasting impact on the development of your brain if you’re under 25-years-old.

3) Doing drugs safely is a learned skill like everything else. Everyone starts out as an apprentice. This means two things: don’t do drugs alone and always have someone with you who you trust and who has also done the drug before – preferably more than once.

4) Based on the research you did, find out what will be pleasant to you when you’re high. Fill your space with that stuff. Generally, it’s going to be things like glow sticks, stuffed animals which feel cool, Netflix Kids and happy music.

5) Make sure the place you’re going to be in for your first time is your space. Make sure you can stay there for the duration of your trip. Someone else might have roommates that come home, who need to write a paper and don’t care how intense your commune with the earth is, you need to leave because you’re making too much noise.

6) When you’re high as balls, everything is dangerous. Avoid dangerous situations while you are high. Stay in your safe space. This is arguably the most important one. A couple of years ago my friend was on his second mushroom trip and decided to ride his bicycle to experience the joy of being a kid – which he did until losing control and flipping his bike into a busy intersection.

A couple years later, a different friend was out having a smoke on a balcony and felt like he was ‘one with the wind’ and decided to join it. Gravity had other plans. The reality is most drugs won’t kill you. Bad decisions on drugs kill you.

7) You have drugs, you’re in your space and everyone’s ready. Only take as much as your research recommends as a first dose and then wait.


And then wait some more. After a couple hours if things haven’t kicked in, don’t take more. Call it a night and try again at a later date.

It’s possible if you take more it’ll all kick in and you’ll get the full effects of everything you did, not just the last bit. It’s generally better to be slightly disappointed for an hour and run to the liquor store and get drunk than it is to white knuckle a bad trip for eight or more hours.

8) Bad trips will happen eventually – to everyone – no matter what. There’s not much you can do about it. Sometimes if you are able to fill yourself with positive experiences you can reverse the trip. If not, it’s recommended to keep something small and familiar in your pocket. A twenty sided die, coins, small ball, just something you can touch and ground you. Keep yourself in the moment and as far away from the bad trip as possible.

9) Try and stay away from people who aren’t high. In your mind you might be having a very insightful trip about how all our food is grown and it’s amazing that we can eat and stay alive. To you, it’s all pretty amazing.

To anyone else, you probably look weird as hell standing in a corner mumbling about apples and kale. Try and stay away from anyone else who doesn’t know you’re tripping so they don’t do something to make your trip bad.

Besides the obvious don’t do drugs when you’re sad, that’s pretty much all you need to know about safely doing drugs.

If you have a friend who’s willing to stay sober while you and a handful of friends rant and rave about nothing for 8-10 hours and be a designated tripper, that person is worth their weight in gold. Make sure you treat her well.

That’s it. Don’t become a statistic, enjoy your four years of partying, struggle into your late twenties and then settle into your middle management job with your English degree. Have some children and watch them make all the same mistakes you did. Give them these tips so they can grow up to have children of their own.


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