Horsing around with drugs

It’s occurred to me lately that drug-taking no longer has the stigma it once had. Drugs have become like, I don’t know, badminton. There was a time when you would avoid people who played badminton for the same reason you’d avoid people who used drugs. This is no longer the case. 

These days you can fire up a joint in your garden without having a police dog turn up to chew your face off. A Lesotho start-up has become the first African cannabis-grower to win EU permission to export its product. Scientists from Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research have found that magic mushrooms are way more awesome than we thought. The fact that such a centre even exists tells you that change is afoot.

What else have we been wrong about? Is crack actually good for your teeth? Is heroin the new miracle drug for acne? I saw a tweet this week that made me see ketamine in a new light (I have not tried ketamine). 

Jackie wrote, “The ketamine is really helping my friend. His depression and anxiety are debilitating, especially this time of year.” I was curious to know why the friend goes off the rails every April, but details weren’t forthcoming. All I knew was that Jackie’s bio said, “Abolish the police.” Satisfied with her credentials, I checked out the replies.

Let me just say, though, the only reason this tweet caught my eye is because I know ketamine to be a horse tranquilliser. Look, Jackie lives in America. There’s a good chance she is dating a horse. It is not for us to judge. Maybe he gets anxious because someone keeps entering him into the Kentucky Derby. I’d certainly need a shot of something if I had to run in front of that decadent and depraved crowd.

Andrew was quick to ask: “Did he get that prescribed?” Jackie replied: “No, his doctor was no help at all. We found this on our own.” The doctor, presumably smarter than Andrew, knew that ketamine is a Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

Jackie seemed put out that insurance doesn’t cover it. Andrew, somewhat missing the point, said, “I used to use it recreationally but I can’t afford it anymore.”

Progressica wanted to know how he takes it. I was hoping she’d say, “Like Pegasus, bro.” Instead, he “goes to a clinic and gets it intravenously”. Dr Bojack’s Shooting Gallery, I presume. Hard to find, harder to leave.

He gets it twice a week for three weeks, then every couple of months, “or whenever he feels like he needs a little jolt”. I’m a big fan of the little jolt, I must say. On the other hand, reality does provide that for free quite often. Especially in South Africa.

Brianbro said, “That’s awesome. I’ve been eating acid and mushrooms. Not at the same time.” Come now, Brianbro. Jackie’s dude is trying to medicate and you’re just partying.

Arturo said he’s been enjoying it, “and it’s much easier on my body than some of the other options”. One of which presumably includes being thrown into a padded cell and beaten by right-wing Cuban medics.

Leaf said her bipolar friend was in a lot of pain but was afraid to try ketamine. Always quick with the best medical advice, Jackie said, “It absolutely causes hallucinations like beautiful colors and swirly things, so she should choose her music carefully and her trip guide.”

Swirly things, you say? Where do I sign up? Wait a minute. We have horses out there hallucinating right now? Can they even see colours? What if they have a trip guide who tries to mount them? I’m sure the right music helps. Something from the Cowboy Junkies, perhaps.

Happy Drug Awareness Week!

Did you know that more than 60% of all crimes in South Africa are committed by people under the influence of drugs or alcohol? This leaves a staggering 40% who are doing unspeakable things without even a drink to help them conquer their shyness. Either there is not enough booze and drugs to go around, or we have some of the cleanest-living crooks in the world. I reckon a police raid at the local Virgin Active is long overdue.

A more likely scenario is that, given the levels of multi-skilling among the criminal community, nobody wants to take the chance of smoking a little ganja ahead of a lazy afternoon of pickpocketing only to find themselves in a high-energy situation where they are compelled to kill someone. And what could be worse than getting all amphetamined-up for a bank robbery only to get there and remember that it’s a public holiday and the best you can hope for is a couple of car stereos?

Drugs are as popular in South Africa as anywhere else in the world. However, nobody here knows for sure why they are illegal. Drugs brighten up a miserable day and give your self-esteem a boost. Is that so terrible? In a free market system, adults should be permitted to sell drugs to other adults. Kids should have to get theirs from somewhere else. In the spirit of Drug Awareness Week, here are some examples of drugs and the effects they have on the police.


This drug, well, it is more of a weed, really, induces a sense of hostility in policemen even though it’s sort-of legal. Their eyes narrow and they tend to speak louder than normal. There is a strong possibility that they will turn violent for no apparent reason. Humour them. Play along. Never assume that they know what they are doing.


Coke makes policemen very jumpy. Symptoms include an inability to sit still and relax. They become restless and fidgety. Often they will tell you to keep quiet and let them do all the talking. They will come up with lots of unrealistic notions and ideas, like sending you to jail for the rest of your life. Nod and smile. That’s all you can do, really, until they have got it out of their system.

Tik (crystal meth)

Police become very self-assured when exposed to tik. They exude confidence. Their positive demeanour can lead to them slapping one another on the back and, in extreme cases, hugging. The comedown can be dramatic, especially when they spend two weeks testifying only for the magistrate to acquit the accused because the evidence has disappeared.

Acid (lysergic acid diethylamide)

LSD has a dangerously unpredictable effect on the police. Either they are happy with a couple of caps, or they will tear your house apart in desperation to get their hands on more of the stuff. Even if you swear on your mother’s life that there is no more in the house, they will not believe you. These hallucinations are quite normal. Do not make any sudden moves. Their imaginations are already in hyperoverdrive and the last thing you want to do is startle them. When they fire irrational questions at you, reply in low, soothing tones. They will soon be back to normal. Well, as normal as any policeman ever can be.