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Davis, California

Friday, June 21, 2024

Column: Pharm town

I know that, from a few slight implications here and there, it may seem like I’m a wake-up-in-the-gutter type drug user. In fact I am not, and I’ll use this week’s column to set the record straight. As it turns out, I use mostly legal drugs and have near-perfect grades (thank you Adderall!).

Prescription drug use is one of America’s fastest growing trends, and, from what I’ve gathered from extremely reliable news sources like Star Magazine and Fox News, it’s prevalent among high school students. First off, let me say that I do not condone this. I’m not exactly sure where these young hellions are getting these ideas. The last time I read the back of a NyQuil box, it didn’t say, “temporarily relieves common cold and flu symptoms, such as: sore throat, fever, general desire to be a bad kid and get yourself shipped off to boarding school, etc.”

Since we’re talking about NyQuil, though, let me say that my record is not unblemished. I’ve had a tumultuous love affair with those pretty green capsules since they first knocked me flat on my ass several years ago. It wasn’t any kind of hallucinatory state that I enjoyed so much, but that deep, muddled sleep that made me wake in the morning with drool on my chin and the plodding steps of a reluctant zombie bride. Wonderful. If you’re anything like me, college has you sleep deprived and longing for the slumber of the (un)dead.

But warnings of liver disease and poison control were enough to keep my guilty NyQuil munching in check. Now, if I want a heavy, drug-induced sleep I usually sniffle a bit, maybe try to force a cough, tell myself I have allergies and take a Benadryl. That usually works just as well and has me feeling slightly less guilty because, well, allergies are way easier to fake than the flu.

Bottom line: if you’re going to do drugs, stick with the illegal ones, since their little plastic pouches generally don’t come with scary warning labels. That way you can enjoy your trip in peace. Or, you can always get creative with things. Let me tell you more.

It is rumored that Ozzy Osbourne once snorted a line of ants. Phooey. I say old Ozzy should give me a call, and as long as they stay in a nicely formed queue, he and I should both do a line of crickets while listening to heavy metal at full volume. What can I say, I’m totally rock n’ roll like that – can’t be helped. Lady Gaga might say I was born this way, and I’d say, “Who’s Lady Gaga?” That’s right. Take notes, Ozzy, ‘cuz this is how it’s done (Oh, God, I really hope he’s not one of those celebrities who Googles himself every week and finds this, because I am totally bluffing).

I’d like to conclude by coming full circle and back to our under-aged delinquents who are jacking their parents’ Vicodin and Codeine simply for a buzz. TO THESE WAYWARD CHILDREN: the alcohol is probably easier to get your hands on. Hopefully, ma and pa are catching on, and you’ll be hard pressed to find those teddy bear vitamins in the house, much less anything as complex and dangerous sounding as benzodiazepines.

And finally, why dost thou reject the sweet berry mead in favor of the extra-strength Tylenol? (Okay, all this medieval lit is biting me in the ass.) But seriously, does this mean that more and more young partygoers are dipping into the medicine cabinet as opposed to the alcohol cabinet? I thought that stealing alcohol from your parents was a time-honored tradition, a sort of rite of passage, though maybe my friends and I were just bad kids. Are America’s youth flushing this tradition down the toilet? (Which is, incidentally, where all your old prescriptions should be.)

I’ll be the first to admit that I enjoy alcohol for many reasons, one of which includes feeling like a promiscuous saloon girl from the 1800s whenever I order whiskey at the bar, and I think that I’ll be perfectly content with liquid courage for the time being. And although I’m certainly in no position to preach refrain from substance usage of any kind, I will say this: I can only hope that in 20 years our children aren’t downing aloe vera jelly by the spoonful, with you and me looking fondly back to the days when things seemed so much simpler.

LENA PRESSESKY can be reached at lmpressesky@ucdavis.edu.

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