Generational Drug Use
Zed
One of defining facets of millennial youth and pre-Facebook culture was drug use. Drug use has always been bound to the exosphere of culture, reflecting and reifying mainstream culture's values, even in a rebellion. This is a thread to discuss it as it relates to zoomers and millennials. I will recount my own understanding of the oral history of modern drug culture. Feel free to correct it.

Now, offline (and most millennials were still offline around 1999-2001), culture was heavily shaped by music. MTV was the defining culture-orienting force then, and it would remain so for nearly a decade after. Although Wigger culture was still in ascendancy - primarily driven by Eminem - rock and metal were still thriving. This era's defining rock/metal ran from Nirvana, Faith No More, Metallica, Tool, and all the way to Slipknot, Radiohead, and Greenday. This was the music of suburbia. You know who the Tool kids were, who the slipknot kids were, who the Greenday kids were. Music was a social signifier and stratifier of suburban social groups. Yet this music, down to the core, was rooted in a seething hatred of the conditions of suburban life. Anyone with an IQ above room temperature wanted out.

In this context, one can understand the role of drug culture, and it’s attraction. Where Gen X was experiencing it’s own self-cultural critique by way of movies such as American Beauty, teenagers found escape by hanging out at the skatepark and smoking low-grade weed out of a perforated Coke can. All while blasting a Napster-pirated copy of Smells Like Teen Spirit. People mocked D.A.R.E and mocked safeytism doubly so. Willingness to experiment and push the boundaries was even associated with a sort of alternative masculinity. The bravest and boldest were taking mushrooms and taking heroic doses of acid. There was status in that - much respect was attributed to those who were most willing to task risks (see MTV’s Jackass).

Shifting back to online: Millennials, as the generation of ‘Post’ —  post-rock, post-metal, post-modern — inherited nearly five decades of accumulated multimedia as they came online. On any forums in the early-mid 2000s, you would find numerous posts on drugs. These were by Millennial nerds and autists, which composed a different social formation to the skater-bro. Here, one could still find a pervasive optimism about the future, driven by technological innovations, and observe a kind of quasi-60s revivalism. SomethingAwful had to dedicate an entire subforum to the culture. In all such places, the spirit present was one of youth rebellion coupled with that revivalism: high-minded drug use was a means towards spiritual enlightenment. People spoke of Leary, of Osho, and read DMT: The Spirit Molecule. You could see strains of this everywhere online. It wasn’t hard to find.

Erowid, a generational intersection between millennial nerds and Gen X ones, compiled an incredibly large corpus of experiential diaries. It remains one of the most interesting cultural artifacts of that era - a collective journal documenting radical fringe and dangerous experimentation with every substance under the sun. In retrospect, it reads as Lovecraftian horror, with many users blazing towards a permanent and infinite psychosis. Yet, I think there was a beauty in it, a mad and crazed quest to reach the most extreme psychological states possible -  against the edge of madness. It was, unsurprisingly, an entirely white autist phenomenon.

By the late 2000s, the enthusiasm had diminished. Millennials culturally normalized weed, and it was [becoming] an accepted recreational drug. No one smoked out of bent coke-cans anymore. Guys got high with their friends and watched Adventure Time. Or played some Halo 3 co-op. This was the pre-history to many modern Millennial norwoods. Meanwhile, disjoint cultural forces had begun to mock and tear apart the more nerdy psychedelic revivalism, which had already started to fall out of favor for the youngest Millennials and the oldest zoomers. What persists in this trend might be singularly represented in the figure of Joe Rogan, who alone seems to carry this cultural torch. No doubt partially accounting for his popularity amongst norwoods.

Somewhere during all this, there was also a shift towards party drugs. Xtasy was the new king. It was the drug of Scene and Emo. The drug of intense hedonistic experience, and it was the first precursor to Zoomer drug subculture. If drug use amongst millennials could be framed as a suburbanite rebellion against their reagenite parents, Xtasy was the first drug of early Web 2.0. It was the drug of MySpace and Facebook. And it came at a time when social media brought a tremendous amount of self-regard for our digital presence and image. Not only did everyone want to party  — they felt an intense and burning need to be seen doing so. It was a novel and new marker of social status. This brought a brief revivalism of rave culture (previously primarily an Urban phenomenon) and interspersed it throughout the suburbs of America. Although the revivalism was short-lived, the nihilistic hedonism of it was henceforth entrenched. Where the Erowdite sought the spiritual edges of inner experience, this new group favored a simplistic escape from the doldrums of modern life.

If the original hedonism of X was still high-minded and social, it would soon decay into its lowest form. X faded back to the periphery. Opioids rose. Xannies rose. Lil’ Peep emptied a bottle on a bus yet managed to keep releasing music two years post-mortem. Many zoomers have grown up smoking weed, but it isn’t a rebellious act anymore — it is “I don’t feel good. I want to feel good”. This is what I’ve been told. And if they go harder, they go harder with the intent to escape. And not just Xanax and Opioids, but cheap and dirty shit such as codeine and whippets. Teenage trannies empty bottles of cough syrup under Amazon-purchased LEDs as they blast 100 Gecs. This is the world you see in Euphoria, though I’ve been told by many zoomers that it is simply an extreme glamorization of how it actually goes.

What is the Amarnite perspective on modern zoomer drug culture? Who is drawn in by it? Who is destroyed by it? Does the high-minded approach still exist - at all?
JohnnyRomero
Good OP. I think that the high-minded, psychedelic "Expand your mind brooo" approach exists in scattered parts among the more high-minded and intelligent Zoomers (influenced by Joe Rogan and his guests, to a large degree), but I think that for the most part it is a very nihilistic thing. There's something very depressing about it in a way that previous drug culture wasn't. The average Zoomer drug user today doesn't fall into either of the two main drug user archetypes of previous generations, those being the idealistic, goofy, New Age-interested weed & psychedelics-using hippie slacker (originating with the Boomers) and the very intentionally cynical, rebellious, & independence-minded hard drug (heroin, coke, etc.) user (mostly a more Gen X phenomenon). They are hedonistic, but in a much more passive and pathetic way. In a sense, most Zoomers have been permanently buckbroken by being born and raised in the shadow of 9/11 and the Recession. As such, their drug culture lacks any sort of higher aspiration or idealism, but consists of simple nihilistic hedonism to drown out the dull pain of life for one more day. They are decadent and degenerate, but in a bland and boring manner, like a gray, desaturated version of Slaanesh cultists from 40k.
Unformed Golem
The fundamental divide between current and past use is the decline of social life. Millennials smoked weed, popped X, and (another drug declining in use) drank alcohol as a social ritual, just like the boomers and Xers before them. And these drugs really do all work in different ways to improve social interactions. Current drug use appears nihilistic because it's largely a form of asocial entertainment, like masturbation, or used as a coping mechanism. Obviously drugs were used in this way before by some people but it has become closer to the default. Erowid psychonauts were pretty abherrent people.

This isn't limited to "Zoomers". A lot of cringe substance use behavior from the balding IPA-and-edibles connoisseur crowd is an attempt to recapture a still-remembered social environment.
The_Author
Thank you for this. I appreciate all modern anthropological posts here. It is something unique to this forum.

Youth drug use is old enough now to be a tradition. Therefore, zoomers do not have much of a "reason" for beginning to use drugs. They do it because their elder peers do it. All of their social gatherings consist of drug use not for a "reason", but because this is just what you do. Hanging out without substances is weird.

This is corroborated by the fact that zoomer drug use is more pronounced inside of (especially secondary) educational institutions. Once zoomers graduate, they enter into the broader social environment of society at large, and I notice that their interest in drugs lessens. They become capable of interacting without drugs. Some decide that they aren't interested in drugs anymore.

Individual instances of drug use are motivated by psychological or social need. Once the social need abates for the aforementioned reason, many become aware of the psychological need. They realize that they are sad, that their prospects do not look good, they are existentially confused, etc. This is especially the case for women to my understanding.

The type of drugs used, in my circles, have primarily been weed, alcohol, xanax, and ADHD meds. With the exception of some cough syrup nonsense here or there in degenerate circles. Doing LSD a few times for the experience is not too uncommon, but few are habitually interested in it. They have been successfully scared away from harder drugs - I do not see the cheap and dirty shit you mention, though maybe this is true for poor people. One might bring/do coke or something at a party as an edgy move, but that's about it. Use of cigarettes is not common. Vaping is ubiquitous in school milieus but less so outside of them, again for the aforementioned reason. Many people quit vaping after graduation.

Each subtle clique (zoomer cliques are not incredibly well defined, imo) is associated with its own subtle drugs of choice, circumstances under which they are used, and behaviors while using them. Absolute degenerate skater guys are mostly interested in weed, and they use it alone more often than socially. Sports guys are interested in weed or alcohol, and they use them socially and not very often alone. Etc.
GraphWalkWithMe
Testimonial (this will not be well thought-out/written):

I straddle the line between Millennial and Zoomer. I immediately took to smoking weed every day upon entering college. My first impression upon getting high was "this feels great, so if everyone just takes weed for granted, then the 'harder' stuff will feel even better, and so will also take me to greater thrills, and so also might help me 'solve myself'" (I was always a 'nervous child'). The degree to which the vacuous "therapeutic" pretense was able to take hold of my will I don't remember, but in the wake of my behavior I'm sure it'd be hard to exaggerate. In any case drugs almost definitely will not solve your problems. I was soon a total and complete Drug Nerd, compulsively following various drug forums, purchasing a large quantity of BTC (lol) to buy as much LSD and 'research chemicals' as I could afford while being able to feed myself.

I possessed a rather singular fixation on acquiring exotic hallucinogenic drugs until I was legally permitted to purchase alcohol. From that day on I've forgoed much else besides a drunken night. For the last ~6 years I've gotten drunk more nights often than not, as an end in itself. 'Street drugs' have entered the mix but have never been more attractive than alcohol.

Happy Ending: I've since reentered undergraduate University into a somewhat rigorous field. I smoke weed in lieu of drinking when deadlines approach. This is how I maintain my grades.

Do not develop a substance habit. If you're not a loser already it could circle you into that drain.
Chud
Quote:Otaku are anti-somatic. Information is their only drug, but [one] that they preferably take intravenously.
calico
The most significant difference in regards to Zoomer's drug use is the ubiquitous prescription of speed and tranquilizers from a young age and nothing even comes close.

It's fun to mock the idea everyone under 25 has suddenly developed crippling social anxiety, but anecdotally it seems they really have. I suspect a lot of youth have missed important developmental milestones without realizing it by leaning on a klonopin prescription.

I suspect Adderall (and it's imitators) are even worse. Pumping your brain full of speed is the perfect way to ignore long term low-level malaise (the type which can actually be fixed with self-help advice). Why bother developing better sleeping and eating habits when you're not going to feel the difference anyways?
Zed
(10-14-2022, 05:29 PM)calico Wrote: I suspect Adderall (and it's imitators) are even worse. Pumping your brain full of speed is the perfect way to ignore long term low-level malaise (the type which can actually be fixed with self-help advice). Why bother developing better sleeping and eating habits when you're not going to feel the difference anyways?

The problem with the long-term malaise as stated is that the underlying conditions for it never quite goes away unless one is able to find a genuinely stimulating outlet. In reality, it often feels as if individuals end up abusing stimulants as way to get well-positioned in a career where the work is so utterly grueling that they find themselves unable to perform it daily, week after week... year after year. There is a spectacular dullness experienced to wake up in the morning and see your laptop, anticipating that the next 8 hours of your life is going to involve  autisticly tweaking/refining the same algorithm you've worked on for the last seven months. 

Good sleep, good food, and discipline can ride you through a lot - but it cannot quite alleviate the soul-crushing nature of certain (now common) kinds of work.
GraphWalkWithMe
I had a roommate last year who was enrolled in a Doctoral program in Data Science. This dude didn't seem to care about much else besides his Amphetamine, prescriptions, etc. before his Research. IOW the drugs were a preliminary to his work product.

This guy was extremely well-versed in Mathematics and Computer Science and probably could have secured a six-figure job any time he wanted. He instead opted to pursue Research at a second-rate university.
calico
I'm just not so certain young people are working significantly longer hours than the men of one hundred years ago, where 10 hour days six days a week (in some places half-day Saturdays) was standard for low-paying manufacturing jobs.

This doesn't even begin to touch on the responsibilities one takes on when they have children in their early 20s in a city they moved away from their family to live in for said job.

And no, before someone says it: working class women were working outside the home at this time as well.
august
(07-04-2023, 06:37 PM)calico Wrote: I'm just not so certain young people are working significantly longer hours than the men of one hundred years ago, where 10 hour days six days a week (in some places half-day Saturdays) was standard for low-paying manufacturing jobs.

For low-paying manufacturing jobs then compared to whatever the modern equivalent of that is today, sure it may be fair to say that they worked longer hours in the past. But as far as professional careers are concerned (real professional careers and not the retarded, fake jobs like "marketing professional" or "team strategy lead" that basically exist to give recently graduated women something to do and dilute salaries), I can't see how young people today aren't working more than people in the same or relatively similar fields one hundred years ago were. Consider jobs like law, finance, or "consulting" that are all fast-paced, time-demanding, and popular among graduates from the highest ranking US universities. Computers, cell phones, and instantaneous email messaging essentially introduced the concept of implied 24/7 availability into these types of jobs because the partners or managers therein always want more deal flow or to get something out to a client so that the cash never stops rolling in; at the same time, the client wants the work turned around as quickly as possible too since they're paying and have their own concerns. The 22 year old who just got hired at a global investment bank and is probably clearing well over 150K on the year is in no position to argue when his higher up tells him at 10pm on a Friday not to make any weekend plans.

(07-04-2023, 06:37 PM)calico Wrote: And no, before someone says it: working class women were working outside the home at this time as well.

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Let me alone to recover a little, before I go whence I shall not return
capgras
The afterword to A Scanner Darkly:

This has been a novel about some people who were punished entirely too much for what they did. They wanted to have a good time, but they were like children playing in the street; they could see one after another of them being killed—run over, maimed, destroyed—but they continued to play anyhow. We really all were very happy for a while, sitting around not toiling but just bullshitting and playing, but it was for such a terrible brief time, and then the punishment was beyond belief: even when we could see it, we could not believe it…. For a while I myself was one of these children playing in the street; I was, like the rest of them, trying to play instead of being grown up, and I was punished. I am on the list below, which is a list of those to whom this novel is dedicated, and what became of each.

Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error in judgment. When a bunch of people begin to do it, it is a social error, a life-style. In this particular life-style the motto is “Be happy now because tomorrow you are dying.” But the dying begins almost at once, and the happiness is a memory. It is, then, only a speeding up, an intensifying, of the ordinary human existence. It is not different from your life-style, it is only faster. It all takes place in days or weeks or months instead of years. “Take the cash and let the credit go,” as Villon said in 1460. But that is a mistake if the cash is a penny and the credit a whole lifetime.

There is no moral in this novel; it is not bourgeois; it does not say they were wrong to play when they should have toiled; it just tells what the consequences were. In Greek drama they were beginning, as a society, to discover science, which means causal law. Here in this novel there is Nemesis: not fate, because any one of us could have chosen to stop playing in the street, but, as I narrate from the deepest part of my life and heart, a dreadful Nemesis for those who kept on playing. So, though, was our entire nation at this time. This novel is about more people than I knew personally. Some we all read about in the newspapers. It was, this sitting around with our buddies and bullshitting while making tape-recordings, the bad decision of the decade, the sixties, both in and out of the establishment. And nature cracked down on us. We were forced to stop by things dreadful.

If there was any ‘sin’, it was that these people wanted to keep on having a good time forever, and were punished for that, but, as I say, I feel that, if so, the punishment was far too great, and I prefer to think of it only in a Greek or morally neutral way, as mere science, as deterministic impartial cause-and-effect. I loved them all. Here is the list, to whom I dedicate my love:

To Gaylene deceased

To Ray deceased

To Francy permanent psychosis

To Kathy permanent brain damage

To Jim deceased

To Val massive permanent brain damage

To Nancy permanent psychosis

To Joanne permanent brain damage

To Maren deceased

To Nick deceased

To Terry deceased

To Dennis deceased

To Phil permanent pancreatic damage

To Sue permanent vascular damage

To Jerri permanent psychosis and vascular damage

…and so forth.

In Memoriam. These were comrades whom I had; there are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The ‘enemy’ was their mistake in playing. Let them all play again, in some other way, and let them be happy.
Bransle
Computers can offer greater "out of body" experiences than drugs, which I think played a great part for the decline of their popularity. It requires relatively hard to reach drugs to get to a comparable hallucinatory state as a videogame can be. And computers are, in general, far more interesting to engage with that what amounts to chemically-inducing brain malfunctions.

The "decadentist" lifestyle is also more at home by jacking in the computer and letting hours fly on habits like videogames than in recreational drugs, which can be mostly larping as your parents when they were young. Down to the ideal of the hikikomori, the most shining example of a modern decadent hero.
anthony
(07-09-2023, 11:10 AM)Bransle Wrote: Computers can offer greater "out of body" experiences than drugs, which I think played a great part for the decline of their popularity. It requires relatively hard to reach drugs to get to a comparable hallucinatory state as a videogame can be. And computers are, in general, far more interesting to engage with that what amounts to chemically-inducing brain malfunctions.

The "decadentist" lifestyle is also more at home by jacking in the computer and letting hours fly on habits like videogames than in recreational drugs, which can be mostly larping as your parents when they were young. Down to the ideal of the hikikomori, the most shining example of a modern decadent hero.

Heil Hitler. Heil Video Games. Heil Victory.

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kevin
There is a misconception about heroin that it is the final destination for someone who has experimented with other drugs and is constantly seeking something more powerful. This is something T777 talked about. Something bad happens to someone, they end up trying it, and they're soon an addict. My best friend is Gen X and that's basically what happened to him after a brutal divorce. That might not be as true for younger generations. The trashier kind of white zoomer in small town America starts using it because they think it makes them cool, from what I've observed, and thus end up on chopped fentanyl garbage because they have no taste, preference, and most importantly=>access, to real dope.
Guest
I'm pretty sure heroin is for wiggers too.
Gorgias
I’m a zoomer who was a druggie in high school.

I feel like zoomer drug use was highly effected by the culture of opinion we grew up in. Cigarettes were obviously bad and disgusting; vapes were a no-brainer, and you were lame if you didn’t have one by tenth grade. Heroin was the worst thing imaginable, opioids were fun, etc. There also seemed to be some faint resonance of the kind of drug-use-as-enlightenment culture that zed was talking about. A lot of my friends were very curious about psychedelics and a couple started doing them very often. I mean, go to Psyched Substance’s YouTube channel and sort by popular, all of these videos about psychedelics from 8-3 years ago that got millions of views, this is the type of shit we were watching.

On the other end of the cultural spectrum, re the medicalization of drugs, I’m not sure I have anything to add that you guys haven’t already said except this; people actually believe and internalize that something is wrong with them and the drugs are their salvation. Most of them (kids, their parents, young adults) aren’t cynical about using stimulants to get better grades or whatever, they actually believe they have a medical necessity. I’ve even meet parents who talk about giving their kids medical grade weed and about how they “need” it. Plus, the proliferation of medical legalization of weed has made it incredibly easy for any adult to get a card and start selling high grade shit it to kids.

Last point about this, on a moralistic but very real note; I had six close friends in high school. Two of them didn’t really do drugs that much, one did and made it out mostly unscathed, one developed epilepsy and never stopped seeing tracers, and the two others went literally insane and ended up in psychiatric hospitals. The weed zoomers are smoking alone is fucked (“between 1995 and 2015 there has been a 212% increase in THC content in the marijuana flower.”) Add to that the normalization (even encouragement) of prescription drugs and the internet assisted curiosity in psychedelics. It’s fucked.
Zed
(07-24-2023, 08:07 PM)Gorgias Wrote: Last point about this, on a moralistic but very real note; I had six close friends in high school. Two of them didn’t really do drugs that much, one did and made it out mostly unscathed, one developed epilepsy and never stopped seeing tracers, and the two others went literally insane and ended up in psychiatric hospitals. The weed zoomers are smoking alone is fucked (“between 1995 and 2015 there has been a 212% increase in THC content in the marijuana flower.”) Add to that the normalization (even encouragement) of prescription drugs and the internet assisted curiosity in psychedelics. It’s fucked.
 
I never got too deep into Weed. As a kid, I wish to be part of the 'alt' social circles - so I would naturally smoke it whenever it came around. For all that, I can't recall having a single good experience with the drug - only psychotic experiences, paranoiac hellscapes, imminent feelings of doom - as if I was about to shatter into ten thousand pieces, broken in some way that was impossible to fathom. I had high phrenophobia (and still do - to a degree), and weed would amplify the worst of it. The last time I smoked was a Delta-9 pen two years back, and I spent most of the trip with a brutal sense of deja vu - as if I was sitting in a room where I had foresaw my death as a child. Hard to describe, but beyond horrifying. I will never understand the mindset of those who do the drug casually.  It is a far stronger and more dangerous drug than people generally comprehend.
Mason Hall-McCullough
Multiple people I know who started doing "drugs in general" did so as an escapist coping mechanism that also turned them into libtarded normgroids. I think they wanted desperately to deny reality but had trouble doing so while sober. I don't know about the nuances between individual drugs but some of them definitely lower IQ long-term.
KV55
One interesting thing I have discovered somewhat recently is the near total memory-holing of the concept of acid casualties. Everything searchable either links to debunking "permanent tripping" or is simply general discussion of HPPD. Strange.
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