And the weakness lies with the individual, let’s make that crystal clear. The media driven notion that there’s some inevitable spiral of decline involved with drugs, that if you catch one whiff of dope smoke then within six months you’ll be a needle scarred, HIV positive junkie who has to get bummed in phone boxes off German businessmen to fund your habit, is bullshit. Some people can handle their gear and some people can’t—and in a ratio which vastly favours the former.
The normal reality of recreational drug use is three or four years of regularly getting hammered which tapers off to abstinence as real life takes over, the responsibilities of adulthood impose themselves and a person finds themselves with neither the time nor the inclination to take drugs.
Drugs are, no matter how enjoyable it might be to take them, for people who have something missing from their lives - people who want to escape from wherever they are. A confused and rebellious spirited twenty something might feel the need to get out of it all the time but a reasonably well balanced and responsible adult doesn’t. Or at least they shouldn’t—if they do then I suggest that there are deeper issues to be addressed.
People who get fucked up on drugs are, ninety five percent of the time at least, fucked up to start with. Again, this is something they share with their contemporaries who get fucked up on booze, the horses, lottery scratch cards or any of those other harmless vices which add some spice to people’s lives and which most of us can enjoy without going off the rails.
In my experience, this is quite true. Those of us who used to take a lot of drugs on a regular basis have, generally speaking, almost entirely stopped because real life intervenes.
Yes, there is the occasional lapse, and jolly good fun it is too (apart from anything else, a number of people have told me that I am a much nicer person on drugs than on alcohol); but one simply cannot live one's life sensibly and cane drugs all of the time. And I speak as someone who almost never gets hangovers and only rare (and never severe) come-downs.
The vast majority of people who get fucked up on drugs would almost certainly have got fucked up on something else had drugs not existed—hell, I've known people who were so fucked up that, had drugs not existed, they would probably have invented the damn things. But most of those people also sorted out the problems that led them to abuse drugs so ferociously and are now perfectly respectable members of the community.
There are, alas, a couple of exceptions (and one has been in The Priory, as far as I know, ever since we left school) but, by and large, it was a fad that we went through and no harm done. (Except, as some smart chap will probably point out, that drugs fund crime. Yes, fine: so make them legal. Prohibition doesn't work, it has never worked and it never will. People like being out of their minds for a little while: it eases the burden of living.)
As the great Bill Hicks said, "What business is it of yours what I do, read, buy, see, say, think, who I fuck, what I take into my body—as long as I do not harm another human being on this planet?"