Hazards of the drug world

A false sense of reality

By Erika Stevenson

Ah, summertime – freedom, warmth and parties. All over Ames, kegs roll

by finding their way to parking lots and bathtubs. Mugs get filled, heads

get buzzed, the Daily blotter expands. Yet something else is being

rolled at parties these days – by Greeks, by dean’s listers, by all – and

it doesn’t make the headlines often enough. That’s right folks – the big


I would never call Ames a thriving metropolis – there isn’t even a bad

part of town – but it amazes me that it is easier for a minor to buy a bag

of pot than it is to get into a bar or buy a six-pack. Many say there is

nothing wrong with this picture, that pot is the ideal drug. You get to

feel real happy, music is orgasmic, food is phenomenal and there’s no nasty

morning hangover or phone message saying you were an inebriated, blubbering

asshole. However, there are more dangers to this drug than most realize,

and they are both physical and psychological.

Unlike most drugs, including alcohol, marijuana is not physically

addictive and studies on the long-term effects on the brain are

inconclusive. However, smoking up every day for 6 months can cause cannabis

psychosis, a condition of paranoia and delusion which resembles

schizophrenia. Long-term use can also impair thinking skills.

This isn’t what most concerns me. I have seen too many dreams and

grades plummet as minds fly high through the rainbow sky. I have seen too

many people unable to remember sobriety, yesterday or what they thought an

hour ago. I’ve seen too many glazed eyes zoning on the unending world of


The young generation of the `90s is becoming caught up in the intimacy

of passing joints and the fascination with how the drug affects the mind

and reality. Music, clothes, movies and TV are all becoming more tolerant

of pot use, helping the industry with its glorification and the abundance

of paraphernalia, shirts, posters, etc. It is everywhere – in high schools,

locker rooms, rich crowds, poor crowds. People are always addressing the

alcohol problem, but growing marijuana abuse is seldom discussed and the

consequences are rarely mentioned. So allow me.

Marijuana is a gateway to other drugs like LSD and heroin-based fun

like Ecstasy. Many like to be “droned,” drinking while smoking up, which

suppresses vomiting and the stoned fool drinks to the point of poisoned


Our 8th grade health instructors told us this, but the words didn’t

reach our adolescent indifference. What they didn’t tell you was that pot

changes your personality, it makes you feel detached from the rest of the

world and even yourself. If you’re doing it everyday and warping reality,

are you really being you? No. Forgetful and dumb, your thought trains

derail and crash on a false sense of identity. You crave it when it’s not

there, and before you know it, you’re a pot head.

Pot is made beautiful by the Dead, by campfires and close friends, by

laughter and strange insights – but I urge you stoners out there to be

careful and don’t be a product of an ill-formed culture. The drug world is

not beautiful. It’s scary, dangerous and it leads to self-destruction. The

road back is long and lonely. Be real and be good to your mind. For

everyone else – evaluate our world, recognize the madness of 15-year-old

Iowans abusing drugs, and let it be known.

Erika Stevenson is a senior in English from


Copyright 1995 by the Iowa State Daily Publications Board. All rights reserved.

No redistribution without the express written consent of the Iowa State Daily Editor in Chief.