Story about someone I know

Uncertain's picture

Someone I met has been taking a lot of drugs, experimenting actually. No one really knows except me, and he think its fine. At first I thought it was fine too, because he is smart, intelligent, and a socialable person. It just shocked me a little because his values seemed to have "changed" so much, and he just didn't seem like the type that would experiment with drugs. There are a lot of other intelligent people we hang out with which also experiments with drugs, which is probably what made it okay, what normalised it. Smart intelligent people who we respect, who have status, who are role models in our fields. There's a lot of rationalising, a lot of post facto justifcations, I guess there's also a lot of pain, a lot of coping, but also a lot of fun involved. There's some degree of self control with drugs I suppose, everything in this world I believe is cost sensitive, but it's the idea of what exactly he is consenting to - are there harms he (or we or in general) cannot foresee, and are there pains that we are trying to mask that we simply are in denial of? Is it some way of connecting, some way of fitting in, no one would ever thought that he would've gone down that track - and so far he's doing great, fantastic, excellent, except is this a slippery slope, but what gives me the right to judge, oh I don't know what I should do - or should I do anything? I do think it is a coping mechanism. I do think so. I do think there are risks.

He would take legal drugs most of the time. Sometimes he feels he needs to take prescription drugs for anxiety and for concentration. Sometimes he does other things.

And he's normal. He's successful. No one can tell.


jeff's picture


Lots of people seem to think prescription drugs give them a pass, since they are legal, but they are still powerful substances. There is a huge trend now for people to use them to bring them up, take them down, etc.

An ambien to sleep, an adderall to clean the apartment, something else to wake them up.

But we read about a lot of people who fail at this. Heath Ledger. Whitney Houston (largely prescription drugs in her system at death), etc.

I've had friends who got into crystal and other things they could "handle," until they couldn't. And I think the only thing you can do is express concern, say you worry for them, and that if there's anything going on that they're using the drugs to push down, you're there if they need to help work through it.

The 'drugs are bad' lectures and stuff will only get you off the list of people they trust.

If this is someone smart, driven, and as focused as you, relate to him on that level. Say you know how hard it is, make it personal, but at a certain level, you're a spectator. So don't make his failing yours. You're a spectator.

I never supported my one friend's crystal use, but I always supported him and talked to him about it afterward. I never tried to stop him from doing crystal, but when the drugs shut down his bladder and he couldn't urinate for 5-6 hours, I was the person he called to take him to the ER. And I sat with him as it took a while to drain the urine from his system, which is also how the drugs gets out, so he wasn't coming down off of it initially. I think that was the last time he did crystal ever.

So, they control their drug use, but you can still be involved and supportive of helping them get through it.

"You can judge the whole world on the sparkle that you think it lacks" - Dawes, When My Time Comes (

Bosemaster42's picture

Slippery slope indeed.

Presciption drugs are just as dangerous,if not more so, than illegal substances. I think people have this false sense of security taking them,thinking"well if a doctor prescribed it, it should be okay". I think, if it were possible, statistics would show prescription drug abuse is rampant across all age groups. I know of people who speak matter of factly of their use, like Jeff said, to wake themselves up, to speed themselves up, or to put themselves to sleep. I also have a good friend who is a recovering heroin addict. Although I always offer him support, I realize I can talk until I'm blue in the face and he can still fall off the wagon. It's always up to the individual mired in 'usage' or 'addiction' to say enough is enough. Sadly, their mindset seldom changes unless there's a health crisis or simply imprisonment. All you can do is offer your support if needed.