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Drugs ain’t what they used to be

March 17, 2010

Why does everything have to change? Dunno. Ask a scientist. All we need to know is that it does. And if we don’t change with it,  life will be that bit more difficult.

Keeping up to date with drugs, for instance. We need to know what’s out there and what it looks like, so we can tell our kids to avoid it. Will that make a difference? I hope so. And they’re more likely to listen if we have more than one song, more to say than: “keep away from drugs, they’re dangerous”.

That’s what I heard when I was young. It meant nothing to me, coming from a school where we had so many ways of getting into trouble that we didn’t need to take drugs. We could rebel by setting our school beret at the wrong angle.

So I went off to university a complete innocent. I didn’t know what cannabis even looked like. But I learned fast. I experimented out of curiosity with several recreational drugs and by the grace of God I survived to tell the tale. Who knows what damage I did to my psyche? I might have been like this anyway…

But if, in my youth, I bordered on wild; if, for a short time, I knew the difference between hash and shoe polish, it was only for a short period, in the late 1970s.

By the 1980s I was as hopelessly ignorant of the drug culture as I’d been at 18.

In 1985 a young friend confided in me that she was worried about another girl who was regularly taking ‘E’ tablets.

I was surprised at her concern. She was even more surprised at my laisser faire.

“But what’s the problem,”  I protested.  “Vitamin E is really good for your skin!”

Now my own children are teenagers and we live in a safer age. Yes, safer. Though we haven’t got it right yet, at least our children are informed. And that education will save many lives.

By not having it right yet I mean of course that we need to QUICKLY pass legislation that will close the loopholes that unscrupulous drug dealers are using to legally profit from killing our kids.

But what we have got right, is that there is a dialogue now between the generations on the subject of drugs. That wasn’t in place before.

The nearest I ever came to that dialogue was when my mum asked me if I was smoking Reefers, which is what joints were called in the 1940s. I sniggered. Hand on heart I could say I’d never smoked a “Reefer” in my life.

What’s changed is that we have reached the age of Information. Knowledge of what the different drugs are called, what they look like and what effect they have can be found easily.

What’s changed is that I can email my kids an article by Ben Leach in The Telegraph, dated 29 November 2009, which informs about youngsters dying from Mephedrone, GBL, MDMA and others. It’s information that hangs around; isn’t used to wrap chips; information that children can pick up on Google and digest for themselves. And that’s with no finger-wagging parent peering over their shoulders.

Children were probably dying as a result of taking legal drugs in the Seventies, but nice families didn’t get to hear about that. That’s what’s different and hurrah for that at least.

The best thing we can do for our kids is to make sure they are informed.

And out of awareness…comes change.

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