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Drugs

We Got People to Order Drugs from Least Bad to Really Bad

Put them on a scale from weed to meth.
Some drugs (Photo by Michael Segalov)

Which drug is the worst? I don't mean "which drug makes you feel the worst"—that's obviously the crap speed dealers try to pass their product off as MDMA. No: Which drug is the most serious? As in, if you found out your friend had got into it you'd be like, "Maybe you should… stop?" Also, does everyone have the same ranking system, or does experience, media discourse, and Hollywood skew people's opinions in all sorts of different directions?

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Let's find out.

Milo, 24

VICE: What order would you put drugs in, from least bad to bad?
Milo: For me, the worst are all the really dirty drugs; I guess crack, meth, and inhalants.

So K, heroin—they're at the worse end of the scale?
Anything that is really cheap, like K or speed, just freaks me out, I guess. Am I crazy? I used to do psychedelics and stuff, and now I'm micro-dosing and slowly getting used to it being OK, but I guess when you haven't done much and then someone gives you a lot, it can be really scary. I'm quite open-minded, but my parents' friends have been multi-millionaires, been on heroin or crack and have just lost everything. So it's just a big no-no for me.

What if the person using crack is a millionaire?
Even if it's Kim K, it's still rough.

Max, 25

VICE: What order would you put drugs in, from least bad to most bad?
Max: Well, first of all, marijuana. Like, I don't classify that as a drug. I'm not religious, but if you take it in that sense, it's just a plant that has grown on the Earth. I think, through propaganda, the government manufactured this stigma around it and made it seem worse than getting drunk. The war on weed is not necessary, so if my mate started smoking marijuana, I wouldn't be opposed to it—I'd just say, "Don't let it engulf you."

Moving up, I think alcohol is a drug. It's legal, but you still get intoxicated from it, and it does a lot more harm than something like weed—it hurts your liver, and it makes you anxious. I think if you are going to do psychedelics or anything then I cannot say yes or no to people who want to have that experience. I don't know anything about it, so I can't really comment, and anything beyond that I'd tell my mate, like, "Bro—don't do it." I'd be a bit worried. If things are natural if they come from the soil, how bad can they be for you?

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Pretty bad, I think?
Anything that is not damaging to you or anyone around you, then you should do what you want—but there are obviously lines that shouldn't be crossed.

Does that apply to everything, ever? You remind me of a politician.
I like to think I am presenting a balanced argument.

Sarah, 26

VICE: What order would you put drugs in from least bad to bad?
Sarah: If my friend was smoking weed I'd be concerned, if they were taking cocaine I'd be concerned, if they were taking MDMA I'd be concerned, and if they were taking meth or heroin I'd be very concerned.

So drugs, in general, are pretty concerning?
Yeah, they definitely concern me. I mean, it depends on how often and why; if you're taking these drugs at a festival and it's a one-time thing, I probably wouldn't be concerned, but if you're taking substances every weekend I would definitely be worried.

Why would something like weed worry you?
Why wouldn't it? I have seen the effects of long-term weed abuse. I know people who smoke weed, and it was the biggest conversation of my day today because their mood—I can't deal with it. They're not stable, and a couple of them have stopped, and I can see the difference so that to me is evidence in itself. I believe there are huge medical benefits and I believe it should be legal, but I definitely see the reliance on it and that's not good. There are a lot of mental effects, like anxiety, apathy, and paranoia, that I can see directly.

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Are you concerned about booze?
I hate alcohol. I drink, but I don't drink.

What does that mean?
I can't tolerate alcohol.

That must be difficult because everything in our society is geared towards getting drunk.
I think, above all things, alcohol should be more illegal than weed. I think it's only accepted because it's a money-maker, and I think the government knows that. Drunk people are violent, alcohol causes massive injuries, it's clogging the medical system. People drink until they pass out, or walk into the road, or stand on glass or whatever. I don't understand how parts of the world have accepted that consuming that much alcohol is OK. I live on the east end of London, and I don't go out onto the streets on the weekend because I am sick of these flopping, loud, limp bodies. They don't even see you; they bump into you and go "sorry" in this gross slurry voice.

Jonny, 23

What order would you put drugs in from least bad to bad?
Heroin, then meth, LSD, Cocaine, weed, ecstasy, cigarettes, and then alcohol.

I presume you did that the wrong way round. It was supposed to be least bad to worst; unless you think beer is worse for you than crack?
Oh shit, yeah, it would worry me if my friend started injecting heroin.

It's interesting you think ecstasy is less bad than weed.
I think ecstasy can be quite good for you when you need to blitz through some endorphins.

Like your body is a happiness Nutribullet?
Yeah, exactly. Whereas weed makes you paranoid and it's not like you become sad for a day and you notice it—it creeps in like a bad fart smell. It has worse effects over a longer period of time

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Sky, 18

VICE: What order would you put drugs in from least bad to bad?
Sky: Alcohol, weed, shrooms, MDMA, LSD, cocaine, heroin. Those are the only ones I can think of.

So to you, shrooms are less bad than coke?
I think shrooms can open your mind to a few different things if you're in a good mindset, but you shouldn't take psychedelics if you have issues with anxiety or stress. Otherwise, you'll have a bad trip and end up in fetal position, in the dark, thinking about something disgusting, like David Lynch shit. I guess there's more of a stigma around cocaine because all the people who take it in films have, like, bloodshot eyes and are dribbling foam, and even if all they have is one tiny line, they always become addicted.

So coke is bad because it's addictive?
Yeah. I know I'm never going to wake up and think, I need some shrooms today or I won't be able to function as a human.

People get psychologically addicted to weed and that was very low down your list.
Yes; weed isn't addictive, but it is. It's like situationally addictive. If you come home every day and your friends are sitting on the sofa with blankets and a joint, it's really hard to say no when they pass it to you.