The stereotypes surrounding drug users can be found everywhere, from films to magazines to opinions among friends. Most often, the use of illegal drugs is painted in a negative light – a pastime for the ill-educated and working class - and society assumes that people who make the decision to take such substances deserve the bad reputation.

Eunice, an eighteen-year-old student, whose “experiences range from weed to acid” talked to us about their drug habits, reasoning, and their feelings on the stereotypes surrounding drug users. The regularity of their doses “varies depending on [their] mood”, though it was a more regular occurrence when they first started using, which was before they sought medical advice to address their mental health issues:

“I used them as a pick me up and they really helped. Even when the meds started to help, I still smoked weed and cigarettes”, says Eunice, though they cut the others, including acid, from use. This then allowed their weekly drug expense, which had previously been “quite high; just over half” their wage to reduce dramatically.  

Eunice started as a result of their clinical depression and curiosity, however, after being introduced to drugs and satisfying their curiosity, they continued. “It was just what I did when I met up with my mates; we would share a joint over a conversation like people who meet up for a coffee and a catch-up. Most of the friendship groups I’m in would just have it on them and so it became part of the norm. we would meet up for a chat and a spliff”. Though Eunice also added that “there are a number of reasons for anyone to start and then continue: peer pressure, wanting to experience it, addiction, or they just like the experience”.

The reputation of drug users seems to be that they are dangerously reckless, ill-educated and antisocial. Eunice commented on this, seeming to understand where the stereotype comes from, however, arguing that it is a stereotype that fits the minority of users, though it is that minority that is often revealed to the public or illustrated in media, therefore creating the impression that it is more common than it truly is:

“I have seen people who perpetuate these stereotypes [of reckless and ill-education] and can see why drugs have such bad connotations. I would meet up with my mates in Brighton, and there were a lot of clearly intoxicated people wandering the streets, even in the daytime. As these people are in the public eye, anyone can see where this reputation comes from. However, I have not personally experienced these sorts of people.”

In fact, Eunice went on to explain that the worst experience they’ve had surrounding drugs was “when [their] old mate had drunk too much alcohol and [they] had to get a lift home from the police as he couldn’t walk” and was a result of drinking rather than illegal drug use.

Despite their lack of misfortune surrounding drugs, Eunice has decided that they’re “done with that whole ‘trying everything’ phase” and “want to focus more on the future”:

“With different therapy techniques given to me by various therapists, I have other ways to deal with my issues without having to turn to drugs and so I’m working on [quitting]. I have cut out every drug besides the occasional joint. I haven’t spent money on drugs so far this year and I plan to keep that up. Not just that, but I’m quitting smoking tobacco and drinking too.”


Emily Thompson - Heathfield Community College