In my former career as a police officer, I met a lot of people for whom the desire for intoxication had become a dangerous addiction. And as a writer I’ve worked with a great many creative people who admit to having indulged in various addictive and non-addictive intoxicants.
In both careers I’ve been involved in any number of spirited discussions about why some intoxicants – such as cannabis, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and so-called ‘magic mushrooms’ – are illegal while others, like cigarettes and alcohol, are not.
One professional musician told me that some of her best material had sprung from occasions when eating mushrooms had made her “experience the world in a different way”. In contrast, the late comedian and poet Sean Hughes told me that taking just one tablet of LSD had had such a negative effect on him that he had resolved never to take anything ever again.
But why even try it in the first place?