What’s So Bad About Drugs Anyway?

The anonymous senior student interviewed attends North Dakota State and has done several drugs, both as prescribed to the student and for the purposes of having a good time, including marijuana, ecstasy, amphetamines (Adderall, Vyvanse), psychedelic mushrooms, LSA (not as powerful as LSD), kratom, opiates.

“I think having altered states of consciousness is a good way to learn about yourself,” the anonymous student said. “I also think it’s partially just the experience aspect, like traveling to a new place. I like exploring my own consciousness.”

The student said they had life altering experiences while using marijuana to see things from an altered perspective, and psychedelic mushrooms, which “really had a profound and positive impact on my life.” They elaborated by saying the psychedelic mushrooms left them with a deep feeling of empathy for the people around them, even after the high was gone.

Though the student has never struggled with addiction, they did talk about noticing when a drug they had been using could lead to an addiction. They described this as feeling a craving and understanding that was one of the first steps of addiction; they then adjusted their behavior to stop the use of that drug until they no longer craved it. This person acknowledges that some people don’t possess the ability to stop when the behavior becomes risky or addictive. However, “I definitely avoid anything like hard opiates like heroin, other things like meth, just because of how addictive those drugs can be,” Anonymous stated.

When it came to trying a drug, the anonymous student advocated for knowledge. “I think a lot of time you hear horror stories of bad experiences of drugs, when really I think that if you do your research ahead of time and you do it in a responsible place with responsible people you increase the possibility of you having a good time, or at the very least decrease the possibility of something going wrong,” Anonymous said.

They obtained their drugs both though people and the internet, saying, “I don’t think people realize how easy it is to get drugs online.” They typically accessed distributors and dealers online through the darknet.

When it came to communicating a message, Anonymous said, “I would say keep your mind open; don’t just think drugs are bad because that’s what you’ve been told, but also if you’ve made the personal decision for yourself to do a drug make sure you are educated about it and know it’s effects before you do it. Make sure to do it in a safe place.”

There is one student organization on campus that recognizes that some students do use drugs, and they aren’t asking them to stop.

The Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) officially started Jan. 24 at NDSU. The group is part of a national organization that is now celebrating its 20th anniversary.

So far, the SSDP at NDSU has focused on fully legalizing recreational marijuana. Bradley Foster, president of the group, says they have done fundraising and collected signatures in cooperation with Legalize ND.

The Legalize ND project is an organization dedicated to legalizing marijuana in North Dakota.

“A common misconception is that we’re pro-drugs.” Foster said that this is a false narrative and that the organization is “pro common sense.”

The organization, according to Foster, also believes in individual liberties. “What someone does with their own body behind closed doors is absolutely nobody else’s business,” Foster explained.

Foster said on Thursday that so far the group is “still growing its roots” when it comes to campus issues and that the group is “really focused on being as big of a supporter as we can for the legalize ND project.”

Legalizing medical marijuana was initially a step forward for the state, according to Foster, but “the legislature set us back whatever progress we made.” He explained that the bill was stifled by “rules and regulations and restrictions and all the hoops they made people jump through.”

“There hasn’t been a single medical card issued,” Foster said. “There hasn’t been a single prescription written for marijuana. No dispensaries are up and running.”

Foster also said the state “gutted” a program called “home grow” that allowed people in rural North Dakota with a medical license to grow marijuana.

North Dakota’s conservative streak does not make Foster believe North Dakota will end up last in the race to legalize. Foster said he sees hope in the support from the public for medical marijuana.

The economic benefits of legalizing marijuana are enough to make North Dakota go green, according to Foster.

The financial benefits of legalization would come from the government spending less on the enforcement of drug laws and from the added tax revenue from sales of the drug Foster said. “In the future, taxes on marijuana might prevent us from increasing the property tax or the state income tax.”

According to Foster, North Dakota would also see economic benefits from their farming community where  “an acre of marijuana conservatively could get a farmer about $300,000 at current prices. An acre of corn can get the $710.”

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