Drug use always has been, and always will be, part of society so it’s time we stop denying that and try to approach it differently

Drug use has been a positive part of my life.

Katelyn W

From a young age, I’ve always had a strong curiosity about different drugs and an intrinsic desire to explore that world.

I joined StoryLab because there’s a lot of stigma and stereotypes around people who use drugs. 

The dominant stereotypes centre on people of lower socioeconomic status using drugs and/or substance use becoming problematic. There are a lot of presumptions about why people take drugs; whether it be a trauma response, a coping mechanism or a byproduct of hardships. 

I want to challenge this, and show that normal, everyday people can use drugs recreationally. 

I’m your average girl from Perth, I am a social worker by background and currently work in hospitality while I complete a counselling course. I have intentionally consumed different substances and I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. 

I have taken drugs recreationally for 12 years of my life and I still live a normal, functional life. In that time I’ve achieved all the things that non-drug users do: finished a degree, saved money and travelled the world, supported myself living in rentals and maintained positive social relationships with my friends, family and intimate partner. 

It’s important to me – and very possible – to be intentional about substance use, particularly psychedelic use, because I want to honour the substance. Psychedelics have long been used in rituals and Indigenous ceremonies and I want to respect the plant and respect the experience for what it is. I am aware that regular use of any substance can have an impact on my health or finances, and I personally enjoy the experience more when it’s occasional rather than everyday. 

My psychedelic use comes from an eagerness to expand my mind. I will take an intentional mushroom dose in a quiet, meditative space and use the opportunity to think deeply about the people or situations in my life, connecting with my emotions and practising gratitude. This has led to better connections with myself and others and stronger relationships in my life.  

Psychedelics provide a forum to pause, reflect upon, and process my life. A lot of self reflection, self awareness and inner growth has occurred through creating intentional psychedelic experiences. 

While I do understand that substance abuse can become problematic, I have never had a problem with drugs. My consumption of drugs is intentional and context dependent and I try to do it as responsibly as I can. I would rarely consume a substance “just because”. 

To me, being a responsible drug user means buying from the same, trusted source, who tests the substances and sends through the results. I always start with a small dose, and increase as I go on. However, as much as I try to take drugs responsibly, there’s only so much I can control. 

While the legal status does not really deter me, if drugs were legal, I would feel a lot safer taking them. I wouldn’t necessarily take more or less, but I would instead have peace of mind knowing what exactly I’m taking and how much. Unfortunately, it’s always still a gamble when they are illegal. 

If we could regulate who produces and distributes drugs, how much people can get, and where the money goes, there’s an incredible level of safety that would arise from that. The revenue generated from the sale of drugs could also benefit society immensely by being placed where it is needed, like to homelessness, family and domestic violence programs or other human services, instead of funding the black market.  

Similarly, if drugs were legalised and normalised, I feel it could help with this strange psychological phenomenon that as humans we seem to have, where we want what we can’t have. If you restrict anything, people will inevitably want to try it. 

I understand that many people have been impacted by drug-related harm, but trust this could be minimised by providing people with better education and harm reduction strategies on how to physically and contextually take drugs safely and what warning signs to look out for.

If you Google “the effects of MDMA” the results are “increased blood pressure” or “dilated pupils” but rarely “pure love and euphoria”. We are so swayed towards one end of the spectrum, which over-emphasises the negative side effects, that we fail to unpack the many reasons why people continue to take drugs despite the legal status of them. I do understand it’s hard to comprehend the potential benefits without having first hand experiences with drugs but I also think forums to discuss these are few and far between. 

I want politicians and society at large to consider the benefits of drug taking. I want more acknowledgement on the benefits that can come to the individual, which can also have a flow on effect on the people around them. 

Humans have always had a curiosity to alter their minds since the beginning of time. Drug use always has been, and always will be, part of society so it’s time we stop denying that and try to approach it differently. 

If you have lived experiences with drugs and five minutes to spare, share your story with Unharm today.

For more real stories like this, head here.

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