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Bad Trip: Inside Logan’s illegal drug culture

November 5th, 2010 Posted in Arts and Life

By David Bowman

Ted (his name is changed by request), 21, watches the room melt. The walls look like running waterfalls and the floor ripples like a disturbed puddle. The people around him don’t look the way they normally do. Some faces have changed into odd versions of animals and others have features seem manipulated to make them look alien and comical.

Holding a pipe in his hand, Ted uses a lighter to burn the shredded leaves that have been packed inside. Inhaling the smoke from the burning leaves, he quickly passes the pipe to the person next to him as he prepares to go for a bumpy ride down the rabbit hole. Before Ted’s mind begins to register what is happening, his surroundings change and the room goes dark. He sees specks of light that he can only guess to be stars glittering in the distance. Then they begin to disappear.

At first, they disappear one by one, and then they begin to disappear in groups. It looks like the universe is folding around him. Not outward, but inward. A fear begins to creep inside Ted that sends shivers through his body. Is the universe folding in on itself? Do I really exist? These questions wrack his brain as he tries to make sense of what he is seeing. Then it’s over. Ted’s body is shaking and he can’t make it stop.

Ted’s vision is fuzzy and he looks around. He can’t make much sense out of anything that he sees. He tries to move but his body won’t respond. He begins to panic. The first thought that comes to mind is that the universe has just folded in on itself and he no longer exists. He thinks that he is going to die or that he has already died. Ted begins to hyperventilate and his head feels lighter and then everything goes black.

Moments later Ted comes to with an unfamiliar face looking down at him. He sees lips moving, but he doesn’t understand what they are saying. The words sounds alien at first and then, “Are you OK?” The haze fades and he realizes that he passed out. Still shaky, Ted sits up and looks around. He’s in a medium-sized room. “Are you okay?” Those words again. He looks at the source and they become recognizable. It’s his friend and he has a look of concern on his face.

This is what one would call a “bad trip.” Users of illegal drugs will get these sometimes when they mix drugs or get high in a bad mood. A bad mood could be anger, anxiety or depression.

Ted has been using illegal and legal drugs to get high for the past six years. He has done every illegal drug he can think of. He has used, marijuana, cocaine, LSD, mushrooms, and the list continues. This particular “bad trip” he describes came about when he mixed mushrooms with salvia.

Salvia divinorum, an attractive flowering plant also known as “Diviner’s” or “Seer’s Sage,” is much like marijuana in that it will get you high. The difference is that salvia has a much harder kick. Where marijuana will leave the user in a calm and complacent state, salvia provides a roller-coaster ride. A salvia trip will generally last anywhere from two to five minutes.

“That trip gave me a horrible panic attack,” ted said, “and for about three weeks after that I was still feeling the aftershocks.” He had hoped the salvia would give the mushrooms a bit of a push, but Ted wasn’t expecting what he got.

Not all drug experiences are as intense as Ted’s. Many experiences will leave the individual in a happier state of mind. Users will be more open with their feelings and will talk about them. LSD will put them in more of a thought-driven high, dwelling on subjects that have been on their mind. Most claim they find clarity after their high.

When Ted smokes marijuana, he says he may smoke anywhere from two to four bowls in one night, about $20 of marijuana. He said marijuana is about as addictive as alcohol, but Ted believes that alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana because it’s a depressant and it’s legal.

“Pot doesn’t make me and my friends depressed,” he said. “It makes us happy and we talk about stuff, and we talk about it more seriously than we would if we were sober or drunk.”

Melanie (whose name also is changed upon request), 18, shares Ted’s experience with the quantities of drugs she has used. She said that she has been using since she was 16. Her favorite drug is marijuana.

“I enjoy the high I get from marijuana,” she said. “It leaves me happy and complacent. No bumpy roads.” Melanie claims that she has never turned down an opportunity to get high on marijuana. She also enjoys the high she gets from LSD and mushrooms, but she says their price and the time it takes for the high to pass is a deterrent.

Melanie said she spends about $15 on one “hit” of acid and $25 for an eighth of an ounce of mushrooms, compared to the $50 she spends on an eighth of marijuana. She said the marijuana will last for about two weeks as opposed to the 10- to 12-hour high that LSD and mushrooms will give her.

“You can find just about whatever you want here in Logan, and if it’s not here you can go to Salt Lake,” Melanie said. She has lived in Logan all her life and says that drugs are pretty easy to come by if one knows where to look.

Melanie has spent time in rehab and it helped her get off the harder, more severe drugs she was using. Rehab helped her out a lot, she says, and she is happy to say that she has not used heroine for two years.

She also said that there are some drugs that many users will not touch or even go near. These are cocaine and meth, which are dangerously addictive and have the potential of destroying the user’s life.

Eric Durbin, 21, is not a drug user, but he has friends and family members who are. He says he sees nothing wrong with drug usage as long as the individual is smart about it. But his mother has a history with meth, he said, and it nearly destroyed his family.

Durbin said his family moved 35 times because his parents couldn’t afford rent because they spent their money on drugs and they would evade their landlords. His mother went into rehab but it was not successful.

“It was losing her kids that drove my mom to quit meth,” Durbin said. He has been in foster care three times while his mother was using meth. Now, he said, his mother has been clean for four years and is still doing well.

Durbin has friends who use frequently, but he says they never try to push him into joining them. He said they asked him once if he was interested and after he rejected them, they never asked again. Durbin says he is sometimes the designated driver for his friends when they are high.

“When my friends are high their personalities don’t change,” he said. “They just contemplate their feelings and personalities more than they would sober.” He enjoys being around his friends when they are high because they make him laugh and he enjoys being the sober one at the party.

Durbin, Melanie and Ted agree that people who do drugs should be smart about it. Research the drug of choice beforehand and learn everything about it. Melanie says it’s stupid to try a drug that you know nothing about, and word of mouth doesn’t cut it.

“Don’t be stupid,” Ted said, “If you were at a bar and someone gave you a drink, would you drink it? No, you wouldn’t. It goes the same way with drugs. If someone came up to you with a pill in their hand and told you to swallow it, would you? Of course not.

“Just because drugs are labeled a bad thing doesn’t mean someone has to be an idiot when taking them.”


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