David Frum

01.09.13

'My Drug Story,' Entry 1

For the next few days, we'll be running anonymous entries from readers about their experiences with drugs. We're not terribly particular whether the story is about the torment of addiction or a fun time you had in college. This is your opportunity to take part in an ongoing discussion about drug legalization. Most importantly, we promise to show the utmost concern for your anonymity. Submit your entiries to editor(at)davidfrum(dot)com. Below is the first entry. - Justin

When I was around 14-ish, I was put on amphetamine therapy for ADHD. I took it off and on throughout the rest of my adolescence.

I have since suffered from substance abuse and mental health issues as an adult.

Whether there's a connection there I don't know (I strongly suspect there is), and it's doubtful that either you or I are competent to make that call. But, whatever happens, I can always say that when my career in psychotropic substances began, it was:

1. 100% legal
2. Not even my idea

I say all this in order to beg the question:

"In light of all this, how absurd was it to lock me up for smoking weed (when I was 17 & again at 18), and how did doing so benefit anyone?"

Another thing I was about to add was that, with regards amphetamine therapy for ADHD, if I went to a shrink today - and was honest about my family history of alcoholism & drug dependence - there's likely no way any responsible doctor would prescribe such a medication.

I am the last surviving male in my paternal line. My alcoholic paternal grandfather (whom I never met) suffered a stroke at 50 that paralyzed him for the final decade of his life. My dad's elder brother died a pathetic alcoholic at 42. My dad's younger brother (by 4 years) died a pathetic alcoholic at 59 - only 11 months before dad himself passed away.

One of my two male cousins (much older than I) on that side of the family died an addict in his early 40's. The other is a daily customer at a local methadone clinic.

But they gave me dexamphetamine on a daily basis all the same, starting at age 14. The doctor who handled the prescription treated - or at least knew of - the condition of all those gentlemen I just mentioned.

Madness.