Reading The Independent today, I was a tad startled to find that Ketamine - as far as I knew, a horse tranquiliser - is now the drug of choice for the UK's social users.
Now I grew up in between the hippies and rave and so have probably ended up both po-faced and drug free. There were plenty of drugs around when I was a student - in fact one of my flat mates greeted my dad for the first time by barking at him and trying to bite my ankle.... being mid-trip on mushrooms when we walked in the door. But, aside from a few puffs on a 'jazz cigarette' which almost ended up with me getting mugged in Withington, I've never felt the need to experiment with anything more mind altering than a nice bottle of Sancerre.
What got me about the article was the 'users's experience' - as a marketing executive from London explained: "I see it as a fun, sociable drug," he said. "I do it at house parties or if I'm having a big night out. I used to do cocaine, but I suppose I gradually replaced coke with ket. Coke is much more expensive and it generally makes everyone very loud and aggressive. Ket is different. It costs less and you use it in smaller quantities so it lasts a lot longer. The feeling you get is different too. It makes you feel anaesthetised to your worries. You forget about your normal life and everything is euphoric....."
He then went on to say: "I've got a proper job and a career and I don't want to lose that. Ketamine is a class C drug so if I get caught I'm probably only going to get a slap on the wrist."
Now reading the paper, it first made this bloke sound pretty daft. The way it's written in the print version says: 'DAVID FIRST tried ketamine as a 20-year-old student at university in London. Now a 27-year-old marketing executive, living in Shoreditch, east London, he still takes the drug once a month....'
So my immediate thought was...there can't be too many 27-year old marketing execs in London called David First, and there's his career gone! Reading the piece again online made it clear that he's called David, but first tried the drug when was 20...phew, anonymity retained!
Still, I'd say he's treading on thin ice on two grounds. For one thing, if I found out any member of my staff was regularly taking 'recreational drugs' they'd be shown the door. I simply can't see how such use, even only once a month wouldn't have an effect on their work for days to come. There's no way I could put someone dealing with the after-effects of a trip in front of a client. Second, no client, when push comes to shove, would want to entrust their marketing campaign to someone who regularly gets stoned. It may do wonders for creativity....but leaves a lot to be desired professionally.
When it comes to work, there's nothing sexy about drugs.