Originally published on March 28th, 2018 for Grazia.
In the middle of the crowded dance floor, sweaty bodies forcing her to shift unstably, Katie pulled out a bag of pills. She started doling them out, placing a few in each of her friends’ clammy palms. These weren’t party pills. They weren’t going to get the girls high or help them to hallucinate; these pills were supposed to protect their brains.
Katie, who obviously prefers not to use her full name because her drug use could jeopardize her role at work, was handing out supplements-over-the-counter vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes-known in the recreational drug community to enhance the effects of, protect against the neurotoxicity and minimize side effects of MDMA. Similarly, Alice recalls how her best friend bought her a pot of 5-HTP pills in Holland and Barrett as a birthday present before a particularly heavy weekend.
Both Katie and Alice represent a new and increasingly common kind of psychoactive drug user: one who still wants to turn on, tune in and drop out, but is seriously health conscious, concerned about both the short term come down and longer term potential fall out of their drug taking. These users respect the powerful chemicals crossing their blood-brain barrier and are taking steps to reduce any permanent damage. But are their efforts in vain?
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