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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Recessionistas (probably know a person that will) favour legal highs*

I'm at a loss at how to start this week's column. Usually, I throw in a couple of flippant remarks about being so poor that I have to steal toilet paper from pubs (everyone does it, I make no apologies) or formulate relationships with men just because they always have a handy supply of spaghetti and stir-in sauce (I won't tell him if you won't). Then I launch into an anecdote that leads into a conclusion that hopefully exposes a vein of the Irish Recessionista (or Recessionisto; this equally concerns the men) subculture that I'm a part of.

There are no flippant remarks about this week's chosen topic, only flippant attitudes. If you think that statement was hyperbolic, then draw the curtains, dim the lights and recoil in horror at the revelation that the average recessionista will, by merits of her age and social status, have come into contact with drugs, illegal or legal, at some stage in her life. She will either take some sort of drug recreationally or will have more than one friend that does.

I'm no anomaly. I am also not writing this in order to judge anyone. However, I do write this column every week as a marker of the shifting habits of my age group.

Drug taking trends, at least within my small cotierie of friend and friends-of-friends who partake, have changed from the acquiring of illegal,Class B substances from slightly dodgy dealers to legal, but possibly more dangerous substances that mimic the effects of cocaine and MDMA from head shops. I asked one friend about this shift - apparently it's a number of combinations.

It's becoming increasingly hard to find illegal drugs. Legal highs are generally much cheaper. However, these legal highs aren't marketed as such but rather as a range of products from plant fertilizer to bath salts to, disconcertingly, weedkiller. It's therefore impossible for someone to know how much is too much, which doesn't bode well in any context.

I'm not smart (or stupid) enough to pretend that I have a solution that would work for everyone from ravers to tokers with MS to sad sacks like me who just bob their heads and stare from the sidelines.

The likelihood is that we also know someone who died a drug-related death. A few nights ago I listened to a friend's laboured breathing as he slept after too many bath salts and hoped that he wouldn't be the next to go.

Like I said, I'm not here to judge. I just don't want anyone to get hurt.

*Print headline reads 'Recessionistas favour legal highs'