The world’s in a turbulent place right now. We’ve got cartoonishly ugly politicians driving our society in reverse, careening down a highway to hell, narrowly dodging war and scarcely evading economic breakdown, scraping past them with disregard and abandon and we’re all strapped in, trapped along for the ride… What are The People to do?
Drugs, I guess. At least, according to new figures, that’s what the kids are doing.
The research, recently published by the statistics analysis company Home Office, shows that kids in the UK between the ages of 16 and 24 are taking more drugs than they have in the last 12 years – from cocaine to ketamine and LSD. Drug use among the youth is on the rise, it seems. And that is a sign of the times.
They go by many names, this new generation: Gen Z, the New Silent Generation, iGen or Centennials. (Just don’t call them Millennials.) They were all born between the late 90’s and the present day, and they are generally considered to be “risk-averse”. Though, now, that might not seem so certain.
According to the figures, the number of 16 to 24-year olds using cocaine has doubled, from 3 percent to 6 percent between 2017-18. This coincides with an uptick in the quality and availability of cocaine, which has likewise caused a rise in use among adults.
Ketamine use among the same age group tripled according to these findings. And the use of LSD in these youthful circles is more popular than it’s been since 2000, even though it is still considered a “niche drug.”
In total, the number of Z’s taking drugs in the UK has risen to 8.4 percent.
Why? What’s the cause of this spike in drug consumption? Don’t these hoodlums know that drugs are bad, mmmkuy?
Chloe Combi, author of Generation Z: Their Voices, Their Lives, told Vice news, “In uncertain times, people like to get out of themselves and out of it, and none more so than a generation most affected by uncertainty and wanting to experiment.”
The logic goes, because these kids grew up in uncertain times, through the economic downturn of 2008, through the escalating refugee crisis, through an endless war on terror, through Donald Trump and Brexit, they are more willing and ready to delve into the chemical world of drugs like coke, K and LSD. These drugs act as an escape from the dark reality they’re trapped within and have no control over.
Okay. That makes some sense. But, it’s certainly not the only factor fueling this phenomenon. Surely, the internet has had just as much of an effect on these young drug users as the zeitgeist has.
Not only because the dark-web has made access to good drugs insanely easy for Z’s, but also because the internet has punched a lot of holes in the old propaganda of the drug war. With so much information being shared and with so many people sharing their experiences and their views, the anti-drug culture established by Nixon and upheld by old-guard conservatives is starting to dissolve. Even across the pond.
So, while this may not be a good sign in the present, it might have a silver lining for the future. While it’s definitely not a good thing that younger people are experimenting earlier with substances that might affect their mental development later on, it could be a sign that the old ways are dying – that the drug war is slowly fizzling to an end of some kind.
Or maybe Generation Z just really likes to do drugs.