liveiy drug has its uses. Ecstasy: benevolence. Cocaine: charisma. And

crack lets you ptit your fist through a car windscreen. get stabbed. commit GBH.

fall 30ft and feel no pain. But nobody knows about heroin. We‘ve seen Pulp Fiction and 'Ii'ai'nspoiiing. we‘ve read Junky and Naked Lunch: but they only

tell us how to take it. not why people take

it in the first place or what it’s like.

The most obvious user profile would

be that of the person who has lost all their money. friends and family and seeks forgetful oblivion. Heroin is an opiate: its effect iniirors that of

dopamine. the chemical released into the

body by the brain to reduce pain. There's no high with heroin. only

mindless contentment. But it's too easy to relegate heroin to those whom society

itself has relegated. When I was in my late teens I had

friends all with a significant amount of

disposable cash who used heroin.

which they called ‘brown‘. They tried it

out ofennui and bravado. in the faith

that they wouldn‘t become addicted or

the knowledge that they could pay for rehab if they did. Heroin was a trend.

just like any other. for the teenager who has everything and believes in nothing. In the end. the group split into two:

those who succumbed to dependency (eventually going from smoking to injecting) and those who didn‘t. I believe that those who eventually

became addicted to heroin worked hard

to achieve it. since the body actually rejects the drug. I think their addiction was a form of bourgeois self- indulgence. not a cry for help. They

wanted the junkie kudos only heroin can

give. and that they got off on the seediness of the process. When you are on heroin you lose

every appetite completely. you become unable to urinate or defecate. your gums

and nails turn black. you itch all over. your irises change colour. your skin oozes grease. You lose all interest in anything and anyone; that is. you lose

your moral sense entirely. You become a

pathological liar. To try heroin is to take an advance daytrip to one‘s own death. to sample

., ... .. magic mushrooms

Aged I6. clad in black and intrigued by bands such as the Mission spouting forth in Sounds about adventures on acid. I had my first psilocybin experience. My parents safely packed off to the Leuchars Air Show. my neighbour and l sneaked tip the loft at his house for our experiment. To help get the fistful of tiny mushrooms down. we had raw vodka. a box of Milk Tray. the Rocky Horror Picture Show and very little clue what to expect.

Coming tip. the whirling. childlike euphoria had us flopping around in uncontrollable giggles. But as Frank N Fiiiter flipped the transducer we reached a plateau of dark confusion. Should we stay tip them? Would the world look different“? Opening the loft hatch we were bewildered by the light shooting upwards and baffled by the stairs. but eventually lumbered into the streets in a state of fidgety fuzziness.

’alking through the rain in a really busy silence. our heads were sizzling and our minds vibrating. unsure if we were speaking out loud or communicating by some primal instinct. We were actually mumbling incomprehensible bollocks that only we two could follow: that is. until we bumped into another three on the same trip. It seemed like some incredible cosmic coincidence: the magnitude was oveiwhelming. and anxiety now soaked into me with the rain. the world stretching into fizzing chaos.

l was having extreme difficulty negotiating the stairs when my parents arrived home. I blurted about the vodka but said nothing about the fungi feast. But. after horrifying myself by looking in the mirror at my eyeliner-streaked face. 1 crumbled and confessed to mum. Surely she would understand about this magic kingdom which was scaring the shit out of me now I was trapped in it alone‘.’

Dad ceitaiiily didn‘t and the carefully assembled goth trappings of my teenage bedroom enormous (iuana Bat in the corner. the cobwebs and crosses. (‘ure posters

There is a certain amount of hypocrisy when it comes to performance enhancing diugs. So let me declare openly and unashamedly that I use one as a professional cnitch in times of greatest pressure.

It seems that it was OK for Thatcher‘s shock troops in the London stock exchange to snoit half the fields of Colombia in the 80s in order to make the world safe for the multinationals. So I see no reason why a humble critic shouldn‘t be able to take taurine to up his game.

Taurine. of course. is the distinguishing ingredient in many popular energy drinks such as Red Bull and Lipovitan. To this day I maintain that I couldn't have found my way through John Baiton‘s brilliant 10-hour Greek epic 'limtuliis without the two cans of Red Bull which I had the foresight to purchase from an off-licence while on my way to the Theatre Royal. Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Anyone who has travelled any distance on Britain’s shambolic private railways can be forgiven for wanting to recuperate for at least two days. To step off a Glasgow to Newcastle train straight into one of world theatre's longest play cycles is daunting for even the hardiest of theatre lovers. To do so with a wittering Daily 72'lcgmp/i reader acting as theatrical commentator for his wife is a test of patience as well as endurance.

Thank the gods. then. for taurine. Although it is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body. energy drinks give you it in such high doses that they can quickly replenish your depleted natural supply. Although there are concerns that the combination of the caffeine in energy drinks with alcohol could be dangerous. there are no indications that a can of Red Bull shouldn‘t be the critic‘s little helper. (Mark Brown)

14% of List readers don’t do drugs

8% of List readers were introduced to drugs by a

farnjl mem er

17% of List readers believe being force-fed substances for a week would put people off drugs forever

30% of List readers have dealt drugs

what it would be like to be in a coma. If the best feeling in the world is the sheer sensation of being alive in the moment. then heroin is its diametric opposite. Heroin is not interesting. It has no redeeming features. That is the truth. (Bidisha)

were unceremoniously ripped down in a fit of fatherly hysteria. Rambling for hours about this world of fairies and psychic wonder. I was grounded for life and banned from being a goth. And I‘ve never touched that hippy shit since. (Vicky Davidson)

They only tell us how to take it, not why people take it in the first place or what it’s like

22 THE LIST Qt) Jill" A .Jtil 2’20?