Questions on Drugs

 Posted by on 3 June 2010 at 7:00 am  FormSpring, Personal
Jun 032010

Some FormSpring Questions and Answers on recreational drugs:

Have you used any drugs recreationally other than alcohol, coffee, or nicotine? If so, what did you think? If not, why not?

I smoked marijuana a few times while in high school, and I dropped acid once. The marijuana wasn’t exactly smart of me, but the acid was particularly bad judgment on my part — and not a fun experience in itself.

That bit of drug experimentation was part of a short but scary downward slide for me in my junior year of high school. I got caught by my parents and the school after dropping the acid. That was a mixed blessing. The slide was arrested, but I suffered from the brouhaha that created (partly self-imposed) for some years thereafter.

I’m still proud that I was able to recover academically that year. I took five AP exams that year: I got four 5s and a 4. That enabled me to skip a year of college.

I’ve not done any recreational drugs since then, and I have no desire to do them.

Have you ever used any mind-enhancing drugs, such as Adderall or Ritalin? I’m glad you dropped the acid before you could use it, I hear that it can do permanent damage.

Oh dear, you’ve misunderstood. To “drop” acid is to take it. And no, I’ve not used any mind-enhancing drugs… unless you count desiccated porcine thyroid. But that’s just returned my mental function to normal, not enhanced it.

That was just a joke about “dropping” the acid. Your use of drug slang sounded so odd to me, I just couldn’t help making fun. Thanks for answering though, it really made my day!

Ah then, my pleasure!

In an earlier answer you stated that you haven’t used any recreational drugs since high school. A more recent answer seems to imply that you occasionally use alcohol. Is one or the other of these mistaken?

Yes, I do occasionally imbibe alcohol. I don’t consider that a “recreational drug,” because I think it’s quite different in its effects from marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc. Perhaps that’s wrong of me — I’ve not thought about the issue much, nor experimented with enough drugs perhaps — but that’s my view.

[In a Facebook comment, I explained why I don't regard alcohol as a recreational drug:

Here's why I'm reluctant to speak of alcohol as a "recreational drug."

I wouldn't classify all substances that affect the mind, affect behavior, might be addictive, and produce pleasure as "recreational drugs." If that were true, then sugar and wheat would have to be classified as "recreational drugs" too. (Yes, they fit all those criteria for a huge number of people.) That seems over-broad.

The term "recreational" seems to imply that the people use the substance in question as recreation, meaning as a kind of primary activity. Alcohol can definitely be used that way -- and routinely is by dumb college students. That's how people use cocaine, heroin, marijuana, etc. However, that's not true of my very moderate consumption of alcohol -- nor ordinary uses of caffeine and tobacco.

I'm inclined to say the term "recreational drug" is not just about the properties inherent in some substance. Those properties are necessary, but not sufficient. Instead, the fundamental is how a person uses the substance in question, i.e. the role that it plays in his life.

Again, I could be persuaded otherwise, but for the moment, that's my view.]

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