Monday, 11 August 2008

Old habits are nothing new

For some reason, there's the received wisdom that it's 'news' that middle-class parents use drugs - once they'd put the kids to bed. Journalists write this? Where have they been hiding these last years? Or is it the case that this really isn't new 'news' but, with the August doldrums, newspapers have to find something 'new' to rehash? (Do excuse the pun...)

I wrote in the book that 'Sam' used to have the occasional puff, when the kids were small. But it was all pretty harmless then - almost twenty-five years ago. He stopped when his overriding concern was for his children and his reputation. However, it was nothing like the stuff out there now: the skunk and the ketamine and the ecstasy. A small joint of canabis resin, and all that resulted was a fit of the giggles and an attack of the chocolate munchies.

I was at a party on Friday night and, talking with no doubt soon-to-be parents, one of the guys told me, 'Well, yeah. Everybody takes something or other...' So, of course, nothing has changed. Then why is it news?

What has changed are the drugs themselves. I must admit that I'd considered that this generation's so-called middle-classes would know that there's nothing clever in using drugs. They do terrible things to their brains. Don't they know this? Isn't there enough out there to educate them fully that even one toke of skunk can render someone paranoid? That if there's a predisposition to mental illness, ecstasy and ketamine aren't exactly bedmates?

So why is it acceptable that drugs should be deemed 'cool' to use? Is it because our cultural icons are all using abundently but consequently not vilified for same? Surely an in depth examination of the results of their abuse is timely - especially since it will show what extent their habits will have had on their minds. There's nothing new in that.

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