So, before concluding my befuddled discussion about addiction and states of consciousness, I want to pay some attention to the actual drugs.
They’re usually divided into three classifications: narcotics, stimulants and psychedelics. The narcotics include morphine, heroin, codeine, Oxycontin, opium, alcohol, barbiturates and any number of sleeping pills (whatever chemical cocktails they might contain). The stimulants are cocaine, crack, caffeine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, Benzedrine, nicotine, Dexedrine and a number of other diet pills. The psychedelics include pot, LSD, mescaline, “magic” mushrooms, Ecstasy and any new concoction they might have been developed in the last few days.
The narcotics are all depressants; that is, they depress the central nervous system. Whatever euphoric effect they produce, in the long run they simply knock you out or, at the extreme, kill you. Heroin is the most powerful and, since it’s a street drug –you can’t buy it in a pharmacy, though Oxycontin has a similar effect – there’s little “quality control,” which makes using it a dangerous proposition. You never know what you’re getting.
Compared to heroin, alcohol is a very mild narcotic, but if you consume a large amount in a binge-drinking frenzy, it can stop your heart, just like smack. If you use a large amount of any narcotic over a long period of time, the physiological consequences can be substantial; i.e., kidney failure, liver damage, mental deterioration, etc. However, if you use them responsibly, they apparently do little physical harm. There are physicians who’ve used morphine every few months for 40 years and never suffered any ill effects. Similarly, many people use alcohol in moderation for their entire lives and have no serious physical problems.
Of course, the stimulants are just the reverse of narcotics; that is, they don’t depress the central nervous system, they perk it up. Speed, in all its manifestations, gives you a jolt, a shot of energy. If you want to study all night for a final exam, pop a couple hits of Ritalin or No-Doze. If you want to stay up for 24 hours, try something a bit stronger. However, unlike the narcotics, if you’re using a powerful speed on a daily basis for even a few months, it can have devastating consequences on your body. Based upon personal experience and observation, methamphetamine is a terribly ravaging drug, the worst I’ve ever seen.
And finally, there are the psychedelics. Psychedelics are neither depressants nor stimulants though, since they’re often manufactured in basements and broom closets, you can’t really be sure what they might be cut with. (One benefit resulting from legal grass in licensed stores is that you can be sure the product isn’t mixed with speed or any other “contaminant.”) Psychedelics are the most subtle drugs and the “trip” they produce is greatly influenced by what the user brings to the experience. If you’re looking for a giddy, drunken state that’s what you’ll get. If you’re seeking more “spiritual” dimensions, that’s also possible.
In conclusion, I want to point out that messing around with any of these chemicals can be a risky proposition. Drugs are dangerous commodities, especially if you’re prone to addiction. They’re definitely something kids shouldn’t fool with. (If I have to draw an arbitrary age limit, I’d say no one under 21.) If you’re 13 or 14 years old and you’re playing around with any of these chemicals – even weed or booze – you better think twice before you flush your whole life down the drain.
Trust me on this. I know the subject well.