Sandra Dick: Not a lecture, but drugs are still for mugs

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AS a middle-aged, relatively sensible mother-of-two, I’m the last person to lecture anyone on drugs.

My only real dabble was in my 20s, an unfortunate experience with cannabis that knocked me even more stupid than I get on the sauce.

In defence, my boyfriend at the time was a total bore whose interests were cricket, beer and laughing at his own rubbish jokes. He threw a party, fed up listening to tales of The Ashes, I drifted off to find a couple of lads invited more for entertainment potential than as good mates.

Several puffs later and I have a vague memory of being in a tight clinch with one, wondering why my about to be ex-boyfriend was standing there, doing some kind of dance that involved his arms spinning like windmills.

I’ve behaved much worse on the bevvy and I know that alcohol wrecks far more lives than drugs. But there was something that felt too out of control, a sense things had unravelled too fast.

At the back of my mind also was a feeling of guilt, that I’d crossed a line and done something wrong – no doubt thanks to the “just say no” mantra of the Eighties, with Nancy Reagan, above, wagging her finger and “info adverts” featuring skateboarding cool kids turning down the creepy guy with bad teeth’s offer to join him getting stoned.

Today people will laugh and point out that marijuana is probably less risky than alcohol, that pinning drugs underground fuels criminal behaviour, and legalising it all will make everything okay. From what I can see, education surrounding substance misuse appears to be focussed on encouraging “informed personal choices”; to me that’s a bit like handing the kids the keys to the house, going away for a week and hoping they’ll not invite their mates.

I wonder if 17-year-old Regane MacColl, whose death at the weekend is believed to be linked to Ecstasy, was told “go on, but do it sensibly”. Or was her drugs education a clear “don’t even think about it”?

Sadly, the loss of a teenager is a powerful reminder that however relaxed we might want to appear, drugs are still for mugs.