5 of the Most Overrated Legal Highs -- An Attack on Everyday Drugs (and a Few You've Never Heard of)
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Have you ever noticed that a lot of the legal drugs out there -- including the popular ones like alcohol -- are wildly overrated? As in, they don't match their reputations, and have negative side effects that are often far stronger than the drug itself?
I take all kinds of drugs, but these five, even though they are perfectly legal in all 50 states, I'm pretty sure I'm never going to touch again.
For good reason people have abandoned much of our old caveman ways of life. If you have, say, a tumor the size of a football in your stomach, you'd rightly turn to a surgeon who could take it out with great precision, and you've got a shot at life afterward. Automatically, we know to laugh out loud, good and proper, at the shaman who would propose to cure us by smearing mouse blood and blueberries on the protruding lump.
Yet alcohol, a Neolithic-era drug, is still very much with us. In 10,000 ways, alcohol is locked into this culture, like granite. We sit around in bars, wasting our precious time and money. We empty out our wallets to buy a handful of vodka bottles on the way to some party guaranteed to degenerate into sentimental babble and mindless groping within a few hours.
Sure, booze gets you nice and sloppy, and it can take you away from your life. But the costs are huge -- a good, solid, drunken state usually costs a person a day of agonizing recovery when you come down. Pour alcohol into the body, and it hits the brain and nervous system in a great way, to be sure, but this crude drug also splashes like Drano all over the rest of the vital organs, sapping them.
All that wasted time, multiplied by the millions of booze guzzlers, every Saturday and Sunday morning-plus-afternoon-plus-sometimes evening, every week for thousands of years. Addiction to alcohol is also usually debilitating -- it typically gets you fired from work very quickly -- and it's the cause of all sorts of morning-after regrets. It makes me sick, just thinking about it.
Wonderful researchers and pharmacologists in clean white coats have come up with all kinds of wonderful things that approximate the sensations that alcohol offers. If you need to overcome your social insecurities to go on the dance floor or go up to a good-looking stranger, try amphetamines -- they'll make you as bubbly and social as any glass of champagne. And speed won't lower your sex standards or make you say something you'll regret for the rest of your life. You'll be in control.
Do you just want to knock yourself out from the grim realities of your existence? Try 100 milligrams of codeine and relax as your nervous system turns into Cloud Nine. To be sure, there's some payback the next day -- but you don't have to worry about the quivering, retching, deep nausea and splitting headaches. Just a little vagueness, and a mild sense of disassociation from your loved ones.
I'll take that trade any day. (Getting a prescription for codeine and amphetamines is a relative breeze: ADHD plus chronic-back-pain complaints will get you a juicy prescription with the visit to the right M.D. -- and you don't even have to seek out a sleazy doctor to do it.)
Apologies to those who love teasing out the rich, subtle weave of flavors like California live oaks, lilacs and whatever else from their $50 bottles of Chardonnay. That's just a sideshow attraction to the effect of the drug; a cultural Band-Aid to conceal the true purpose of why it's sitting on the dinner table -- it's sitting there to get you high, and deep down, we all know it. I don't see any oak-flavored bubble gum for sale.