Not the side effects of the cocaine

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Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

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40 Responses

  1. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    I can’t put my own outsider’s impression of cocaine more succinctly that Bill Cosby did:

    I said to a guy, I said, “Tell me, what is it about cocaine that makes it so wonderful?”, and he said, “Well, it intensifies your personality.” I said, “Yes, but what if you’re an asshole?”

    Personally I think the thing everyone should try once is probably not narcotics, but psychedelics.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to dragonfrog says:

      Totally agree.

      A little exposure to weed doesn’t hurt most people either. It saddens me that weed where I live has become this thing that requires you to be sick. It turns 20-somethings into old biddies discussing their medical conditions, though that can be entertaining.

      (Full discolosure: I don’t care much for stoner culture, the distinct lack of ongoing focus and accomplishment disturb me. But there’s a lot of vapor between full-blown deadhead and occasional use.)Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to zic says:

        Knew a guy who “doubleblind” exposed himself to marijuana (touched something made with it. perhaps aggravated by aluminum foil cuts). Sent him on so much of a bender…

        (and even smelling the stuff makes me sick, same as tobacco).Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

        For me, I just leave it. Except.

        Migraine often produces endless vomiting. Weed is the only thing that stops that. And I’m very, very grateful for that for me; throwing up for 12-hours non-stop is not fun, not good for the body, and harrowing to the soul.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to dragonfrog says:

      (Legal) Narcotics had my husband convinced that our house was under attack by direwolves.
      Vicodin: never again.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to dragonfrog says:

      Never did coke. Coke contradicted two things:

      1.) My rule that nothing would ever go up my nose or break my skin, as those routes of administration are most associated to higher risk of both acute overdose and addiction. Not that other ROAs are risk-free, but they generally tend toward reduced risk in both arenas (things like smoking meth or crack excepted on the addiction side). I would only have done coke if I could have obtained an oral preparation (in South America, I understand they chew the leaves or make them into tea and I would probably have given either a shot; smoking it was right out, obvs).

      And 2.) My experience told me that I already liked stimulants (and not opiates). So a stimulant with high addictive potential was far too risky for me to mess with. What if I liked it too much? A friend who was an intrepid psychonaut (as well as a pretty genius programmer) and had tried most every substance under the sun at least once in the name of “research”, named coke as the only substance he ever lost control of; it seems more innocuous up front than some drugs do, which makes for an easier, less-obvious slide into moreishness, and he had (by his standards) a bit of a struggle letting it go.

      That told me that *I* had no business anywhere near it.

      So in the spirit of the OP, what would the NHA (National Heads’ Association) advocacy of responsible use entail? I’d suggest generally staying clear of the needle or the nose, right off the bat; what else?Report

      • Avatar Matty in reply to Glyph says:

        I’m not sure unprocessed coca leaves are anywhere near as strong. Certainly when I drank the tea the only impact was a very slight lessening of my altitude headache, like taking half an asprin. Also if you try and chew them they taste really bad.Report

      • Avatar Matty in reply to Glyph says:

        Not that I’ve ever tried powder to compare, maybe I was off my face and didn’t know it but if so a drug that leaves you feeling almost exactly the same seems a bit shit to me.Report

  2. Avatar zic says:

    I can’t stand people who are on weasel powder. Singing in a band and having accidentally become a cook, I am frequently around people who powder their noses and then proceed to behave like hair-triggered, he-men chatterboxes until I fear they will either start throwing punches or, even worse, never shut up. It’s unfathomable to me that people think conducting this sort of expensive psych experiment makes for a good “party”.

    For me, it’s been a very long time. (Back before eldest sprout, I had something of a problem. and eldest sprout will be 28, so it’s now a ‘back in the day’ sort of thing.) Because of that problem, I avoid.

    Which leads to my question. Then, it was an expensive commodity. The description above is totally on-spot from what I recall. But it left out all the strange etiquette of who gets to partake and who gets to go in what rooms at the party and so fourth. Are these community norms diminished? Because I found them an endlessly fascinating element of the whole disturbing culture.

    And thank you in advance, for I have no wish to answer this query with my own first-hand observation; happy to leave it to others.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to zic says:

      I think I’ve been blessed with the sort of chemical balance that doesn’t do much with cocaine. People I know often say I seem rather hyperactive anyway and I’ve found that blow does nothing for me, regardless of how much I use. So, I can’t exactly say what the etiquette is, since I’m the guy at the party who’s checking my watch when the coke is going around. But, it seems to me that you can take some if it is offered, just don’t ask for it if it isn’t.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    I’ve only experienced Percocet. Hated it…hated it. Everytime I took a sharp corner I’d get vertigo.
    Didn’t take away my pain.
    It did “enhance” my personality. I gave even less of a crap what people thought of me and my work. I had enough good sense to stop taking it before I articulated that opinion to my employer 🙂Report

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to Damon says:

      Strangely, the drug that did the most memorable damage to my mental state was an anti-seizure drug I was given after my first seizure, wake back in my teens. Now days there’s a huge range of drugs (the one I’m currently on controls my seizures perfectly, I take a minimal dose, no side effects or drawbacks, haven’t had a seizure in a decade), but back then there were like two drugs (one of which tended to do massive liver damage to a not small number of people taking it, necessitating frequent blood testing to see if you were one of those lucky duckies and, you know, stop giving it to you before you broke your liver).

      The first of them I was given and I spent the ensuing week in something of a haze. I was 15 and did not like it. Looking back, it was a combination of “high” and “really drunk” and “quite sleepy” that did not do wonders for my state of mind or grades, and I’ve been told I asked a number of nonsensical questions in class. (Thankfully, my teachers were quite understanding of the ‘I’m on a prescription that makes me feel weird, a specialist is gonna help me get one that doesn’t feel weird” explanation, delivered via note).

      Since then, I’ve been really leery of any drug that does anything to my brain. Good, bad, or indifferent — I still shudder recalling how…fuzzy and washed out everything was. Like wool had been wrapped around my thoughts.

      Thankfully was only on it maybe two or three weeks, but they were awful. It was one reason I didn’t touch booze until my late twenties. I associated even ‘slightly buzzed’ with that awful feeling from my teens.Report

  4. Avatar North says:

    This post pairs with Sam’s in a most interesting way.Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Why should I have to try narcotics if I don’t want to? I’m not a particularly wild person and find hedonism an unattractive lifestyle. Narcotics hold no attraction without me having to try them. I can’t imagine any providing the pleasure that a really good wine does. Do as you please but I’m not really a fan of people that try to pass their tastes in pleasure as enlightenment itself.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

      By really good wine do you mean the type that gives taste hallucinations?
      Cause there are some other good things I can recommend to you…
      (and yes, they’d satisfy your stoic soul).Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Just need to point out that psychedelics =/= narcotics.

      Amongst the vast horde of deadheads I know, many use shrooms; I don’t know any among them that I would consider addicted to shrooms. Other stuff, possibly. But not psychedelics.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to zic says:

        Ya know, I was just talking about good, fresh roasted coffee… 😉
        (Which does do beyootiful taste hallucinations.
        Hey, this coffee is grapefruit flavored! mmm…. blueberry!)Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

        Kim, those are not hallucinations.

        They are esters; complex chemical compounds sensed by the nose.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to zic says:

        zic,
        When you put enough esters together, the brain often chooses which one to be smelling (ya kinda overload the sensors). Since it varies from person to person, I’d say it’s close enough for government work. You may think you’re tasting loam, but there’s tons more than that, so what you’re actually tasting isn’t what’s really there, just a segment of it.

        Brains are funky, funky things.

        Up next — a fascinating discussion of mexican hats!Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Why should I have to try narcotics if I don’t want to?

      So you’d have the privilege to talk about it. 😉Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Alcohol now – that’s unquestionably a narcotic.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Scientifically yes. Culturally no.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Depends what you consider the cultural definition of a narcotic. If it’s the legal definition – a narcotic is anything the local drugs authority puts on its list of “narcotics” – sure.

        On that basis I don’t think you can make very meaningful decisions as to the benefits to be had by trying “narcotics” though – if tomorrow alcohol prohibition is reintroduced, that’s not going to make alcohol any more harmful or less enjoyable to you, except via the standard failure modes of the war on drugs.

        If the cultural definition of a narcotic is around culture-specific situations and outcomes of use – addiction, harm, use for hedonic pleasure or numbing rather than a vehicle for growth (as, e.g. peyote, ayahuasca, or psilocybin used in religious contexts) – then surely alcohol is the number one narcotic in the Western world, no?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Alcohol is not culturally a narcotic because most people would not use that word to describe alcohol. When you say narcotic, most people do not thing of alcohol.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Well, I wouldn’t say you *have* to actually, nor would I say drugs offer enlightenment. God no. What I would say is that it’s useful to know what they do, especially for those people who are going to try them. As it is now, the situation’s more like a lot of young people conducting experiments on themselves, while being told that the results of any such experimentation will be dire.

      One funny coincidence here- the young woman in that story, who I am quite smitten with as of late, is a sommelier.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Rufus F. says:

        There is a certain type of hedonist that tries to pass off their source of pleasure as enlightenment like the people that mock vanilla sex. I am generally not one to deprive a person of their pleasure, unless its actively immoral and involves hurting other people in some way, but I’m a cautious person. The idea of putting myself in a potentially harmful situation is not appealing, nor do I like it when my caution is mocked.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Rufus F. says:

        @leeesq those people are called pushers.

        and @rufus-f I wish you much joy in this company; while I don’t drink, some of my favorite food-centered friendships are with sommeliers, and I do often sniff the wine.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to LeeEsq says:

      In more direct answer to your question – I don’t think everyone “should” try psychedelics, but I do think there’s a great potential for growth and self-realization to be had in their intentional use (and I particularly think there’s generally nothing great to be gained by trying narcotics, including alcohol).

      Some form of mind-altering experience is something I do think everyone should have. Ecstatic dancing, a meditation retreat – those can also have that sort of benefit, of breaking through the illusions and traps we’ve intellectualized ourselves into.

      I mean, many psychedelics are also lots of fun, and using them with simple fun in mind is alright too – which is probably a big part of why more people will say their lives were changed after realizations achieved during an acid trip than during two weeks of silent meditation.Report

  6. Avatar dhex says:

    dr. rockso more or less sums up my feelings on the issue.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I asked a friend who used to do weed some 20 years ago what he thought and he said this:

    (paraphrased) Man, when I did weed 20 years ago, it just made me feel exceptionally pleasant and dumb. You know the feeling of taking a warm blanket out of the dryer on a cold evening and just snuggling into it? It’s like that only without the temperature part. You just sort of sink into cozy. Additionally, it had the benefit of making me pleasantly dumb. Instead of watching a television and thinking about the acting or the direction or the theme, I could just watch tv. Listening to music had me thinking that lyrics were better than they were, sound distortion took more skill than it did, and air guitar was a good idea. Food tasted better. Hell, even *SLEEP* was better. I felt cozy and pleasantly dumb.

    (Back to me) I suppose that that’s why weed is such a dangerous drug. It makes you feel that good without requiring any effort at all.Report

  8. I would never try cocaine, for all the bad side effects Rufus lists as well as some other side effects I’ve heard about that are probably myths, but that I don’t want to try to find out about. The one thing that clinches it is the nose thing. I *HATE* nosebleeds. So much that I have a fear bordering on the irrational about them. I would never purposefully try to make one easier to come on.Report

  9. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    I’ve never found any drug that held any appeal to me save one. Twice in my life I’ve been required to take Morphine (who knew knee injuries were so painful). That I could understand wanting to become addicted to.Report