The drugs do work, apparently

With its pages stuffed full of the gurning faces of the fashionably wasted, I've always steered clear of Mixmag. But I picked up the latest copy when my eyes were drawn by the results of their annual drugs survey.

Theirs is not a scientific study of drug use in the UK. Rather it gives a picture of what mostly twenty-something, white, middle class lads-who-go-clubbing are imbibing, snorting, swallowing and smoking.

Unsurprisingly MDMA comes in at number two, behind that old ego-mangler, alcohol. Cocaine is still alarmingly high in the list (62.7% of respondents said they'd used it in the last year), as is ketamine.

Just under half of respondents had tried mushrooms but only about 16% had used them in the last year - a finding that is consistent with other studies. Those who return to mushrooms more than about five times remain a minority. The lower ranks of the list are filled with 'designer' drugs from outlaw chemists exploiting the Shulgin cookbook and the loopholes of legality. I mean, WTF is Benzo fury?

You know you're middle aged when the kids are doing drugs you don't understand, but I couldn't help feeling a tug of nostalgia for the days when people took psychedelics for philosophical, psychological and - dare I say it - spiritual insight. The prevailing youth culture is one where excessive and demonstrative polydrug use is the norm - what? you mean you've only tried MDMA? - and where the weekend's exploits are turned rapidly into cultural capital around the water-cooler. We've been given the keys to sweety shop and boy are we gonna gorge.

Certainly, those of us for whom the archaic revival was all about reaching out - to each other, to the land and the shamanic realms - rather than cutting off and pulling the plug, have much to do to overcome the fact that such a view now appears hopelessly out of fashion.


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