With first term in Southampton nearly over, people are already frequenting the local watering holes; Jesters, Sobar, The Hobbit and if you’re adventurous, Bedford Place. And the Facebook notifications are pouring in reminding everyone who perhaps live in the isolated depths of their own imagination that the aforementioned bars still exist. However nobody’s talking about drugs and perhaps its ‘high’ time we should.
An investigation into the demographics of recreational drug users in the UK comparing non-students and students, showed students were more likely to use recreational drugs than non-students. And what’s more the recent surge in popularity of nitrous oxide (hippy crack, balloons) has seen yet another shocking surprise to Britain’s precious league tables; hippy crack is now the second most popular recreational drug after marijuana.
Recreational drug use is not as big a deal as the scaremongering media would like us to believe. It’s as easy to pick up a bag of weed or cocaine in this city as it is to pop down to ASDA and get some milk. Drug dealers aren’t scary men who carry guns and throw up gang signs, they have no distinguishable features that may alert you to them being drug dealers and in the spirit of equality there are plenty of female drug dealers too. What’s more is that the chances of snorting a line of coke or inhaling nitrous resulting in your untimely demise is pretty thin.
The reality then is there’s nothing someone can write up that will prevent young people in particular from taking recreational drugs, however we can do our best to ensure drug users are aware of the dangers of a particular strain of drug. A great site for checking whether or not a particular pill is known to be dangerous is pillreports.com. For example, the UPS pill which was linked to a number of hospitalisations, can be found on the site and is detailed and given a ‘warning’ status.
Educating yourselves, especially if you’re trying something for the first time could be a potential life saver. Look up what you’re taking, the effects, things to avoid when taking such substances and so on. For example last year two young men snorted white heroin mistaking it for cocaine and died. Knowing your drugs, if you do plan on using them, is incredibly important.
This then is not a glorification of recreational drugs but an acknowledgment of their prevalent use at this university like so many others. Instead of ignoring it and trying to scaremonger we should do what we can to encourage a healthy understanding and respect of the substances you may very well be considering taking.
The bottom line is if you’re not sure what you’re putting in your body or you’re not sure what it will do to you then don’t do it.