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Jamie - Interview 21

Age at interview: 26
Brief Outline: When Jamie was in the Royal Air Force (RAF), he didn't want to risk taking any kind of drugs, for fear of being caught by the random drug testing. At twenty two, and after leaving the RAF, he would smoke cannabis with friends but only occasionally, at weekends.
Background: Jamie lives with his girlfriend, works for an electrical engineering company, and is studying to be an electrical engineer. Jamie thinks that children should be taught, at an early age, by their parents and teachers about the dangers of drinking too much alcohol. Ethnic background: White.

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Jamie’s parents introduced him to diluted wine at dinner at an early age, and had told him about some of the consequences of taking drugs. At around eleven or twelve his friends used to go in the park to drink litres of cider but he says he never understood the point of it. Later, when he moved with his parents to a smaller village at fourteen, he started going to parties where he would have a drink or two. At a house party he got drunk after drinking several cans of cider. He and his mates were quite sporty as teenagers, and usually took care not to drink too much.
 
When Jamie was in the Royal Air Force (RAF), he didn’t want to risk taking any kind of drugs, for fear of being caught by the random drug testing. At twenty two, after leaving the RAF, he would smoke cannabis with friends. He smokes only occasionally with friends, and none of them have taken any other illegal substances. They smoke cannabis to relax, and usually on weekends.
 
Jamie thinks that drinking alcohol as an adult is very different from drinking as a teenager. He and his friends drink on the weekends, although he doesn’t drink much if he has an activity planned for the next day or if he has to get up early the following morning to go to work. He says that teenagers drink to have fun and usually don’t think of the consequences. It may not matter to them that they won’t be able to function well the next morning. Peer pressure is a big factor in teenage drinking, as they want to fit into the group. They also run the risk of getting into serious trouble: with the police, having an accident while drunk, getting a sexually transmitted disease or causing an unwanted pregnancy while having unprotected sex. He thinks that parents should teach their children about the consequences of drinking too much, and to teach them to drink responsibly at an early age.

Schools should teach children about the consequences of getting drunk. He also thinks that the government should address the problem of the dangers of teenage binge drinking. 

 

Jamie uses cannabis occasionally when having a few drinks with friends. He says it is a good way of relaxing but he wouldn’t consider using it when sober.

Jamie uses cannabis occasionally when having a few drinks with friends. He says it is a good way of relaxing but he wouldn’t consider using it when sober.

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The effect that I felt was pretty much what I expected. And it was just, to me, felt very similar to having a drink, I kind of felt relaxed and just kind of just, enjoyed the kind of relaxed feeling that I got really with it, and yeah your inhibitions kind of went down a little bit and as far as it went that, you know, that was about it really. , I have since kind of had a little dabble now and again but it, it’s not something I kind of, it’s not the kind of thing I could tell I do on a weekly or even monthly or even a yearly basis, you know, it’s very infrequent but if the opportunity presents itself then I kind of don’t refuse it really. but that, that, that kind of, I’m not put in that position very often and I don’t seek that.
 
So in which context do you do it? With friends, at a party or?
 
Yeah I mean it will probably be like if a friend has something at his house and we’ve gone out and we’ve had a good night out, and we’ve had a few drinks and that and we come back, and you know, me and my friends are very kind of sit around the garden with another drink or something and like look up at the stars and get all kind of philosophical, and, you know, generally speaking we kind of feel that that kind of compliments that kind of conversation and environment so, we don’t, you know, it’s not something we kind of go out in a club and, you know, decide to roll up a bloody spliff and start smoking, you know, a joint in the middle of a club, you know, that’s not the context, and it’s not the context that you go round to someone maybe sober and kind of, “Oh I’ve come round for a smoke.” kind of thing, it’s an addition to kind of going out and having a drink, a bit of fun with your friends and then kind of at the end of the night rounding it off with just kind of relaxing out and chilling out kind of before you go to bed kind of thing, and that’s always been the context that it’s been in really.
 
Very, very infrequently. It’s obvious, I mean it’s generally my male friends obviously like, there’s not many of the girls that think, seem to do it for some unknown reason. And it’s not like my friends are kind of drug users as such, you know, not, none of them are kind of, you know, I don’t know a friend that has taken Speed, Cocaine or Ecstasy, none of those like hard drugs as I would call it, you know, they, they’re all fitness fanatics if anything, you know, some of them are rowers, some of them are, you know, gym instructors and, you know, private trainers and all that so I mean generally as a group of friends they’re quite fit, it’s just a, a downtime kind of relax, you know, relaxation that we have really.
 
And it hasn’t progressed to anything beyond that.
 
 

Jamie uses cannabis occasionally but is wary of paying for drugs, like ecstasy, that may have been mixed in with other substances.

Jamie uses cannabis occasionally but is wary of paying for drugs, like ecstasy, that may have been mixed in with other substances.

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I mean, oh I’ve read a magazine where they show what is actually in these drugs and like Ecstasy, you know, it’s probably got about three percent of this MDMA which is the pure version isn’t it? And then, you know, there’s other things in there that are doing absolutely nothing, Paracetamol, Glucose, and all these other things in there and they contribute, add, add nothing, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they just chuck a bit of this plant food into some of them.
 
I don’t know the great extent of what they do put in them but there’s some truly horrific things that they put in them, rat poison [laughs] there’s plenty of things that they put in there that’s just ridiculous, and people are prepared to pay money for these.
 
 

When Jamie was 10, his father told him about the experience of someone who’d had a 'bad' LSD trip. He thinks that young people need to hear such stories.

When Jamie was 10, his father told him about the experience of someone who’d had a 'bad' LSD trip. He thinks that young people need to hear such stories.

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The problem is there’s a lot of relationships with children and parent where they are either too embarrassed to ask it or they just haven’t got that relationship, you know, with their parents. You know my parents I’ve got an open relationship with them and I, if, if they ask the question they get the truth, and they know that, you know, so if they don’t want to know the answer they don’t ask the question. but I think some kids maybe don’t get exposed to alcohol at an age so they kind of go and try and a little, they don’t talk about drugs because the parents kind of think ‘well no let’s not talk about drugs because they’ll go and try them’ instead of maybe talking about the drugs and what the consequences are and everything like that for the kid to kind of think ‘well I don’t need to experiment because I know what it does you know?’ if they know that LSD kind of can make you, I mean my Dad like, you know, told me about LSD when I was kind of ten years old, and he told me when he worked in a Police Station that there was a lad in a cell screaming to high heaven because he thought there was a giant tarantula in the 
cell with him, now, knowing that at ten years old am I going to go and try LSD knowing that that kind of terrifying experience could happen? And there’s no control over what experience I have, you know, having spoken to people now, some people have good experiences, you know, as you probably know, you hear, “Oh I had a bad trip.” There’s, what there is absolutely nothing that controls that situation whether you have a good or bad trip so why put you in that, put yourself in that position where if you have one of those bad trips you’re going to have a lot of hours of very horrible experiences? So I don’t understand the point ofdoing it, putting yourself in that situation.
 
Knowing these things you don’t, you don’t kind of experiment with them. I think, the thing is you need to get, the, that message needs to be put across at quite a young age, I think, because as I keep saying, you know, fifteen years old people are going clubbing, that’s probably not the first time they’ve had a drink or been exposed to drugs, the message needs to be quite early, you know, when, drum it into them kind of thing that, you know, the goods, the good, the bad and the consequences of all of these actions because if they go and find it themselves I think that’s when the problems happen.
 
 

Jamie never saw the point of getting drunk in public places. He was 14 when he first tried alcohol and says he didn’t know how to handle it.

Jamie never saw the point of getting drunk in public places. He was 14 when he first tried alcohol and says he didn’t know how to handle it.

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It’s been explained to me. , so yeah and then with alcohol, as I said meal times and that with family, and then really I started growing up and I grew up in like [Place] which is just down the road, and my friends at the time, we were probably, you know, eleven, twelve, and they were all starting to drink these, you know, three litre bottles of Cider and everything saying, “Oh come on let’s go drink.” [Sighs] and I didn’t really feel that the context was right to go and drink down the park or somewhere like that, you know, to, it was pointless to me I didn’t understand the point of it, so I never participated and generally went home. And, and then when I was thirteen we just, my parents decided to move from the area...
 
So decided to relocate to a smaller village location. And then , it was there then really I was probably fourteen where I first started going to parties and then the context seemed a bit more kind of appropriate then to kind of maybe have a drink or two, and I remember the first time that I drank, I was drinking Cider at a house party and I was just, you know, a mess kind of thing, I drank, I don’t, I didn’t, I don’t know how many units but I probably drank like six cans of Cider or something like that at the age of fourteen, fifteen and I just, I couldn’t handle it, I was way too young and I’d not experienced it before and really didn’t know how to control the kind of quantities or, you know, didn’t know how much to do or how much not to, and just soon realised that I’d drunk too much and wasn’t very well [laughs].
 
Yeah so that was my first experience of alcohol. 
 

Jamie had a wild week in Ibiza after his A levels with a group of friends. He's amazed that they did not sustain more serious injuries.

Jamie had a wild week in Ibiza after his A levels with a group of friends. He's amazed that they did not sustain more serious injuries.

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I know, for a risky situation friends, there was eight of us, we went to Ibiza, we finished our A Levels I think it was, and, eight of us all went to Ibiza, and in those six days I’ve never seen more danger, risk taking, absolute mayhem because, the environment, the culture and everything out there was set up for drinking so we all did it and to great kind of lengths, there was a friend of ours found in a pile of dustbin bags, virtually unconscious, not through any attack or anything like that just his sheer amount of alcohol he’d consumed and he was, and there were a lot of for the Spanish in Ibiza a lot of the Spanish gents all stood around him, and you know, whether their intentions were to be good or bad we don’t know, but a couple of our friends that saw what was going on and kind of shooed them away, and virtually kind of rescued him to kind of take him back to the hotel where we could kind of sleep it off kind of thing. But I mean that situation when you look back it’s like well what could have been, you know, he could have, stolen all his possessions, maybe beat him up if they wanted to, and there was nothing he could do about it because of the sheer mess he was in from the amount of alcohol he’d drank. So I mean, and I had the exactly the same on the first night where we’d gone out and in one night I spent a hundred and twenty pounds, now I don’t know what on, how much alcohol, who I’d been buying drinks or what, but all I know was there wasn’t much of my memory they were just snaps, I’ve got snapshots of the whole evening, but at one stage I was, I was just walking down the backstreets of Ibiza looking around and I was just like, I’m in a bad place here, but the next thing I remember, again from the next day, looking back on it, was the next thing I remember was getting back to the hotel, seeing a friend and going back up to the room like and that was it so, I was in such a state that I had only got snapshots of the evening so whilst I’ve kind of think ‘oh I’ve spent a hundred and twenty pounds on alcohol’ it could have been I spent sixty and sixty pound got robbed from me I don’t remember, you know, because of how drunk I was.
 
Okay so that was your experience of heavy drinking? [Slight laugh].
 

Yeah that week, that one week there were, there were a lot of people being ill, one of our friends fell down steps in a club and smashed his tooth out, one of his front teeth out, there were lots of those kind of scenarios happening where people were not in a good way through alcohol. 

 

Jamie once woke up in bed next to a young woman but he'd been so drunk the night before that he had no idea whether they'd had sex.

Jamie once woke up in bed next to a young woman but he'd been so drunk the night before that he had no idea whether they'd had sex.

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I had one experience where I drank so much alcohol that I woke up in the morning and I was laying next to a girl and I couldn’t even remember whether we’d had sex or not, so, whether it was protected or unprotected wasn’t even a question it was like, well did I even have sex with this person? So, yeah you, I don’t think, I think you get to that point where you kind of, you don’t know what’s going on, you know, just like the guy in the bin bags, you don’t know whether you’re having, going to have sex or you don’t have sex, you know, you just get into such a mess, I think that’s where I get to that point like I say it’s like ‘what is the point?’ because if I’d have gone out and had a few drinks and kind of gone back with this girl I would have had a much nicer time that waking up in the morning and thinking ‘what happened last night?’ you know? And remembering the girl’s name [laughs].
 
[Laughs].
 
It’s not, it’s not a good experience I don’t think it’s something you can kind of (a) be proud of or (b) kind of say you enjoyed it.
 
 

Jamie says a young man who gets drunk and has sex with a stranger risks getting a girl pregnant or sleeping with someone under-age.

Jamie says a young man who gets drunk and has sex with a stranger risks getting a girl pregnant or sleeping with someone under-age.

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And my point it is precisely that, that the risk cannot be just for girls but also for young lads.
 
He’s going to be on the Sex Offenders Register through no mistake, in my eyes, of his own, other than I, I mean, you know, you’re drunk, you find her attractive, are you going to say, “Can I see your driving licence? Can I see your passport? Prove to me you’re eighteen.” At what point does the liability end? So I don’t think it’s fair on these young lads kind ofbeing put in that situation.
 
And like you say it’s a massive risk with potentially life changing kind of consequences, what if he’s a twenty-one year old Student Teacher? He’s not going to be able to work with children again is he because he’s got, he would be on the Sex Offenders Register?
 
Were you thinking about those things when you were in Ibiza?
 
Course not [laughs], course you’re not, you don’t do it until, until you get to that age where you start reflecting, you know, when people start getting married and, you know, having children, it’s at that point in your life where you start thinking back on things, and you know and reflecting on things.
 
And I thinkthe questions aren’t asked as well like, you know, you don’t question, who asks you these kind of questions when you’re that age? Nobody, no-one’s there saying, “Well what happens if this scenario happens?” Because you don’t care, you’re there, you’re having fun, you’re getting drunk, and you know, you’re taking a girl back home, you know, you don’t think of ‘well what if she was fifteen?’ you know?
 

Or what if she got pregnant? And these are the, all the things that they don’t seem to think about. 

 

Jamie turned down an offer of cocaine in a club toilet. He was in the RAF and did not want to...

Jamie turned down an offer of cocaine in a club toilet. He was in the RAF and did not want to...

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So, you have never felt tempted even when offered to try other drugs?
 
Well, as for like the hard drugs , I had an experience when I was in the RAF and I was in the local town having a night out and, you know, it was probably early hours of the morning so by that time I’d had quite a few drinks and I was kind of drunk, and I was, I was in a cubicle and a guy came in and I’m just stood there and it, and like this guy’s come into there, I don’t know how, whether the lock wasn’t working or something, and he came in and he was just like, “Oh.” And he kind of got out some Cocaine, and he was using the back of the toilet for his platform in which to take it and it, “I’m so high do you want some?.” And I was like, “No course not.” You know, (a) it’s on the back of a toilet and obviously, you know, (b) I was in kind of in the RAF which is a more precedenting thing that, you know, my career was on the line if ever I took anything like that. so I was obviously no and kind of dismissed it, but then I walked downstairs to my friends and I said, “Can you believe that, you know, that’s, that’s just happened?.” And now, but I mean I look back now and I reflect on that and I think ‘well what if I wasn’t in the RAF?’ you know, I was drunk kind of, my head’s kind of not really in the right place to be making kind of sensible decisions, so I was kind of like ‘well would I have had I not been in the RAF?’ you know? And I suppose when you, when you look at it like that there’s kids now that maybe aren’t in the RAF and so are, I could maybe see why they fall into that trap and, you know, they’re drunk and having a good time, you, your emotions are high, you’re having fun, why not top it up with someone offering you, you know, some free drugs you know?
 
 

Jamie avoids drinking late into the night these days because he doesn’t want to spend one of his precious weekend days feeling hungover.

Jamie avoids drinking late into the night these days because he doesn’t want to spend one of his precious weekend days feeling hungover.

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The pattern, the behaviour of drinking changes from when you are a teenager to when you are a young man?
 
Yeah absolutely, and like, like a good example of that now is that, for example, last weekend going for a, over for a meal at my friend’s house we were drinking loads of wine and he’s like, you know, “Stay we can you know carry on drinking.” But the next day I wanted to go for a bike ride and so, it was oh well I know if I stay I will carry on drinking till all hours of the morning, but then the next day will be written off, and so it’s oh well, because, I think because you’re working, and you’re working Monday to Friday, those two days that you get at the weekend you appreciate them a lot more, so it’s oh well I don’t want to waste, you know, when I was younger, you know, you’re going to school it’s, you know, your whole seven days a week’s a party isn’t it? So, you know, what’s lying in bed till two o’clock on an afternoon it’s not a problem, you know, I’ll go out, I’ll get drunk till three, four, five o’clock in the morning and I’ll sleep till two, three o’clock in the afternoon and get up and, I, you know, I don’t mind wasting a day at that age but now time is precious because you appreciate those days off, you know, with your partners or your friends.
 

Jamie thinks saying ‘no’ to drugs is OK because it means you’re happy with who you are. He uses cannabis but doesn’t consider this ‘drug-taking’.

Jamie thinks saying ‘no’ to drugs is OK because it means you’re happy with who you are. He uses cannabis but doesn’t consider this ‘drug-taking’.

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The incidence at Glastonbury were, it was three, four o’clock in the morning we were sat around in a circle and we were by the tents and, you know I was offered this MDMA, I didn’t know what it was and I was just like, “No I don’t want any thank you.” And they, the person that offered it me was respectful of that, you know, andall of them were to be honest they were happy to kind of, I, whether it was, they were happy that I didn’t want to do it, or whether they were happy because it was more for them I don’t know, but either way there was, there wasn’t any peer pressure there, and I wouldn’t have crumbled to peer pressure anywhere, I mean I don’t tend to crumble to that. But I can see how a lot of people do crumble to that pressure if you want to look cool or something, but I think, personally I think you, I think people will maybe laugh at you at first but respect you more later, by doing so I think being able to have that character to kind of say, “I don’t need it, you know, I’m happy with how I am feeling right now, I don’t need to take drugs.” That they’ll probably at the time laugh because they’re high on whatever, but then the next day when they’re feeling rubbish and you’re all chirpy and like, you know, “I’m, I’m great I did what I wanted to within reason and I now feel good.” They will probably go, “Well fair play, you know, you’ve, you’ve stood by your beliefs, you feel good.” You know years on when they come to a point in life where I am now maybe where you look back and reflect on life, they go, “Well yeah he made the right decision, he’s sensible, and ultimately yeah he is cool.” [Slight laugh].
 
Yeah. So it’s cool to say no?
 
Yeah as clichéd as that is, it is cool to say no because it means you’re happy with who you are, because at, all of these drugs, even alcohol and Cannabis, they’re mood changing so you’re basically, by taking these drugs you’re admitting you’re not in a good place, or you’re not happy with who you are, so you want to change something about it like that, you know, if you’re down, I don’t know you would take a drug that picks you up and makes you feel happier and, but people need to realise that there are other ways that you can feel happy, you know, get, if you’re in a bad relationship, you know, taking drugs to feel happy about that relationship isn’t a good, that isn’t a solution, get our of the relationship, find a new partner and be happy with yourself you know?
 

Or do some exercises or something, get the endorphins flowing through your body and feel great about yourself, these mood changing drugs are a quick fix and normally from what I hear, the comedown of whatever it is takes you way beyond where you started anyway, so that quick fix might feel good but when you come right down you come right down and way below what you were before, so ultimately what is the point? 

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