Ranking the Unrankable

There is a hierarchy of drug use and drug users. Maybe you’re aware of it, maybe you’re even firmly on the list; many of us are. This list exists purely mentally but your position – be under no illusion – on it carries a lot of weight with people once they know.  And amongst those of us in the know, your ranking defines you more than any ideology you hold dear, shamefully.

The Powder Cocaine user – The myth is diminishing, but this group of drug users still reign at the top of the tree. They are perceived as well off (or at least able to afford a gram at a weekend), going places, and cocaine is still a drug associated with trendy bars and glamour. Though they may look down on most of the others in the list the last laugh is well and truly on them. The last Police purity report I had a look at for the area I worked in showed consistent purity levels of around 35% – but every regular coke user will swear their dealer sells the best. Love snorting baby milk or lindocaine? Buy coke. In the ease of adulteration of a drug there really are no exceptions. Oh the heady heights of nasal surgery – the hydrochloride element of cocaine hydrochloride mixes with nasal mucous and and produces hydrocholric acid. It’s what eats the septums of z list celebs.  But Cocaine spells rich, rich, rich to your friends. Number one. Synthesise it into crack however…and the crack cocaine user would be somewhere around the bottom of the list. Weird eh.

Cannabis – The most widely spread illegal drug in the UK. By miles. The real boom occurred once HM Customs got more sophisticated in the early 90s: which made the importation of cannabis resin more hazardous. This left a gap in the market which was exploited by Asian gangs (and anybody now with a spare room, lots of tin foil, patience, luck, and a way around their electric meter) who moved into shit houses on run-down estates and realised that the market share could be gained by simply growing some high strength weed inside under lamps. The production of hashish takes too much time and too many plants, so the weed boom was born. No hiding things in diesel tanks or, if you were Howard Marks, in Pink Floyd’s speakers. Now you just grow the plants, harvest them, bag, sell. It’s child’s play. Cannabis users are so commonplace that they consider themselves normal citizens, which enables them to frown on most other drug users. Nobody ever heard of someone robbing an old lady for money to buy weed eh……..?

The M-Kat gerbils – A new and disturbing group of mostly young drug users. As large European gangs figured out how to make and sell mind-altering substances en mass without having to live under the constant threat of showering with a man called “Bubba” for twenty years, they decided to exploit a loophole of the medicines act. First you develop a synthetic substance which is as chemically close to the drug you are mimicking without actually being that substance (and making sure it costs you less money to produce), then you check it isn’t instantly poisonous, then bingo.  By selling something and clearly labelling it “Not for human consumption” you get around the fact most people ingest it willingly – you also get around all food and medicines legislation in the UK. Which means until the government can catch up, the product is legal. The practice of using is based purely on stupidity – I suppose it’s a bit like buying nappies and eating them, legally speaking it’s your fault if you die. The thing about this group of drug users is they are little more than lab rats, gerbils, beagles. There is no research into the long term effects of M-Kat or any of its siblings. A night on M-Kat is truly a voyage into discovery – will I get brain cancer? But the youth and burgeoning culture growing up around drugs which are perceived to be safer than ecstasy gives this group validation and an errant “Coolness”. They are expanding and in my humble opinion this is the future of illegal drug use for the foreseeable decade or two….or more. Technology. Kids today…

The Psychonauts – A dying breed, and getting your hands on LSD or Mescaline or any one of the dwindling number of true hallucinogens (yes, I’m aware cannabis is classified as a hallucinogen….) is almost impossible outside of cities. LSD production hardly ever took place large scale in the UK, and mescaline is almost impossible to find. Magic mushrooms are still growing wild and free but too few people make use of them – after all, gone are the days where people want to sit watching an evil superman rape their grandmother for eight hours straight. Fashion has killed the hallucinogens – excepting for, perhaps, Ketamine – and many, many, fragile minds are safer for it. You can, if desperate, grow peyote cacti, but one button can take twenty plus years to harvest. Still incredibly illegal (I think all are still Class A) and fading into history, only the K-Hole navigators still plumb the depths of the “inner journey”, and heavy Ket users mostly all end up pissing into a bag once their bladders have rotted away.

Heroin – It’s this group of drug users who cause massive amounts of crime and damage. Heroin is easier and easier to get as the years go by. However, it is not produced in the UK at all – even the morphine to diamorphine stage – but it trickles in all the same. A truly hooked heroin user may well step over their own baby to score a hit and the power of heroin addiction is never to be underestimated. This apparently perceived weakness (and the consequent lack of trust given by those around the user) lends other drug users to look down on the fragile and out of control heroin user. In truth, in my experience, crack is easily as destructive a drug as heroin, but heroin is the blue ribbon shop-lifting burglary catalyst, at least to the media. It occupies the number one bad boy position. Not one of you would want their child to use street heroin, of that I’m sure.

Booze – Maybe it shouldn’t be on the list at all but alcohol is the one drug that even heroin addicts look down upon (those who aren’t alcoholics themselves – of which there are many). It’s ironic that the legal and acceptable drug in the list is the one every full blown addict from any of the other substances would laugh at. I still can’t work it out. But here’s the rub: every single alcoholic I ever met or treated had zero sympathy or empathy for any heroin, crack, or Benzo addict. The whole hatred goes full circle – which is exactly how the people in charge like things. Keep us at each other, or watching fucking xfactor. It stops us from looking in the right direction.

Of course, this list isn’t comprehensive, and it’s not designed to provoke you to look down on anyone else. I guess, in my experience, in terms of the “Loser rankings” all I learned is we’re all in there one way or another, even those of you who touch nothing illegal at all. But there is no-one worse than a self-righteous drug freak with no end in sight to their problems, who spends too much time evading the law. We all drink from the same shitty cup folks. Keep safe out there….


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