Posted on January 26, 2012


I have always been open with my daughters about the fact that I spent much of the latter half of my adolescence stoned. That’s why I failed French A level not once, but twice I tell them. That is why I will never win the Nobel Prize for Literature or establish a multi-million pound business. They laugh. Ha Ha. If only. But I do wonder sometimes whether there is a little bit of my brain that is missing as a result. With the high strength cannabis doing the rounds these days an even larger bit of their brains could disappear if they took to rolling joints in the way that I did.

I have never seen the point of being secretive about my ill spent youth. I make an example of it. I tell them that I smoked copious amounts of dope because it was sociable and fun, but mostly I wanted to be ‘out of it’ because I was unhappy. My first lover died of a heroin overdose long after we had separated because he was even unhappier than I was and they know that. They have even seen pictures of him. I never shy away from the truth that people take drugs for the same reason that they drink alcohol – because drugs make you feel better about life and yourself (for a while) and that AS a teenager you are often likely to feel bad about yourself. It really isn’t easy growing up. There are such pressures to succeed, to look good, to feel accepted by your peers as you struggle with your sense of changing identity and an uncertain future. Who wouldn’t want to be a little stoned for a while when faced with so much change at the same time?

The drugs are out there, cheaper than ever before and easy to get hold of. The ‘war’ on drugs clearly isn’t working. We have to see drug use primarily as a health issue rather than a criminal one. The illegality of drugs feeds a thriving cash black economy for swathes of unemployed young people. The illegality of drugs adds an extra thrill of danger to the chemical high.

 When it comes to our own children the only way we can hope to keep them away from drug use is to make sure they feel supported through the ghastliness of growing up. Scare tactics help too. A teenage brain changes radically with pruning and re-growth. It is ripe for the right kind of educational stimulation and highly vulnerable to the chemical changes triggered by drugs. So I tell them that too, often, knowing full well that just like every other teenager in the land they will in all likelihood been close to drugs at some point, and considered their options.



Posted in: drugs