My (non-existent) relationship with drugs (By Yana)

I’ve never done any drugs. Ever.

That’s because when I was growing up in Russia, drugs were not at all common and usually people who did them were hard-core criminals and ex-cons (as in killers,robbers,rapists-seriously bad people,outcasts of the society).

Doing drugs was not considered “hip” or “cool”. On the contrary, it would make one extremely undesirable acquaintance due to the reason above.
Drugs (of any kind) were not easy to get, either. One would have to deal with those criminal types in order to obtain them and most people just didn’t have associations like that and wouldn’t know how to go about getting introduced to one.

Drugs and their use carried a stigma-a very bad one. I remember when I was at the Uni rumours started about one of the girls: people were saying she might be using drugs. I honestly don’t know whether she did or didn’t, but she rapidly became very UN-popular, as no one wanted to be associated with her.

People stopped inviting her to their parties and didn’t want to go over her house,either.
Drug use,possession and distribution was a very serious offense with grave consequences. There was no leniency for those caught.
Consider this as a comparison: being caught in a sexual act with the same-sex person was a felony offense punishable by jail term in Russia back then, so you can only imagine how drug use/possession was viewed.

There was no leniency for those prosecuted and, as Russia didn’t have the jury system back then (the case was heard by the Court Judge and he/she was the only person to weight the evidence, determine whether or not the person was guilty AND decide on the appropriate punishment/length of sentencing), Judges dispensed lengthy sentencing periods in the hardest of jails.

Hell, back then smoking (regular cigarettes) was a big deal for a woman, especially a young woman. I never had any desire to start smoking, but I remember standing guard at the door of one of the empty lecture halls at the Uni while a group of my girlfriends smoked inside by the open window…LOL..

I realise Western culture is quite the opposite: one does drugs often due to the peer pressure, in order to fit in and be part of the group. Well, it wasn’t like that in Russia back then (it’s all different now, of course). There was no such term as “recreational drugs”-all drugs were considered extremely bad, dangerous and deadly.

The Government constantly used drug addicts from Western world in mass propaganda, depicting them as dirty junkies who lost all control of their lives. They produced documentaries about it, pounding in our heads the notion that drugs are highly addictive and one can get hooked from doing it just once and end up  like all those people wondering the streets crazy-eyed, homeless and dirty in “capitalist world”.

Surely, you understand how all that would have an effect: I was deathly afraid of drugs and wasn’t even a bit curious.

When I moved to US (still very young), drug culture was there, sure, but not amongst the people I associated with. Back then drugs in US were either pass-time of hippies or very well-to-do rich people.

I was amongst neither: I was just a waitress who worked two (and sometimes three) jobs trying to make end meet. All my friends were mostly the same. We were working way too much and had way too little money and drugs were expensive.
Besides, it wasn’t easy to get drugs, either: one had to know people, rotate in certain circles…
It was also very much illegal and seriously enforced.
In fact, when I worked in Las Vegas, pretty much any job you applied for (definitely any and all casino jobs) required mandatory drug testing. You also had to sign a contract stipulating that random drug tests could be administered by your employer at any time for any reason without any notice.

And employers did it, too: I’ve seen my co-workers pulled off the floor in the middle of the shift and sent for drug tests.

Testing positive was grounds for immediate dismissal and one had no right to appeal.
I was a Union member-still proudly hold my Local 226 Culinary Union badge-but even Unions were powerless to save your job if you tested positive for drugs.

By that time I’ve also got to know myself better and realised that I am quite a control freak. Seeing many movies portraying people under the influence of drugs, all I could think of was that drugs make you loose control and the thought scared me to no end.

Several years went by and I found myself in Adult Entertainment Industry. My first ever stripper job was at this small club in Las Vegas.
When I first started there, I was in awe of one of the girls, Erica. She was the “top girl” of that club.

Not classically beautiful, she was very attractive. She had this “Southern Belle”/Scarlet O’Hara thing going on (she did piled it on kind of thick, but it worked). Always immaculately made-up, with perfect bob haircut, she was graceful and classy.

She made a lot of money: guys waited for up to an hour sometimes to have a private dance with her. She told clients a story of her family back in Mississippi and how she was sending money to help them..
She invited very, very few back to her apartment and even then wasn’t granting them any sexual favours (I know all that because my then-future, now-ex  husband was one of those few).

Rather, she talked to guys about investing in a business she was part of. She was quite vague about the kind of business it was, just told them it would bring great returns.
She was asking for thousands of dollars, implying that she would, indeed sleep with them if they invested.

At the time, I wanted to be just like Erica: I wanted her grace and poise, her immaculate sense of style and, mostly, I wanted to be able to make the kind of money she made…
One day I walked into club’s dressing room and saw Erica sitting cross-legged on the floor in the corner. She looked up at me and I gasped: gone was grace and poise. Her make-up was smeared and her hair was a mess. She kept wiping her nose with the back of her hand and saying “Sorry, ya’ll… Bad day”. She was clearly off her face on something (I had no idea what at the time).
Shortly after I moved to a bigger and better club (Olympic Gardens) and haven’t thought much of Erica until a few months later when one of my old clients from the little club came in. He recognised me and asked for a few lap dances. We started talking about the other club.

Suddenly he asked my if I remembered Erica. He told me a sad story. Apparently, he was one of those few whom she invited over. He really liked her, but she kept asking for larger and larger amounts until he told her he simply could not afford seeing her anymore.
He hadn’t heard from her for several month until one day, out of the blue she rang him and asked to meet. When he saw her, he didn’t recognise her: she lost a lot of weight and was almost skeletal, her hair lost all shine and was stringy, she was unkempt and, most importantly, she was clearly doing drugs and was now a full-blown junkie.
Fred (the client) was shocked. He told me he felt both sorry for her and repulsed. She asked him for money and he said “No”. He couldn’t bare the sight of her and cut the meeting short. She called him half an hour later, crying, telling him that her boyfriend will kill her of she didn’t bring any money back and telling him that she’d do ANYTHING for $100.
Fred went over her house. It was terrible. Hardly any furniture, bare mattress on the floor-just like a scene from one of those movies. He didn’t want to have sex with her-he couldn’t even bring himself to think about it. He gave her $100 and his business card. He told her to pin his business card to her panties with a safety pin, so when (not if) she dies, someone would call him and he would make  arrangements. He knew her days were numbered.

Fred didn’t think she’d do it, but, apparently, she did. I saw Fred few months later and he told me he got the call one day: Erica was dead.
To this day, I have an image of her clear in my mind. Someone who was so intelligent and successful, so in control, who made so much money, granted sexual favours to selected few, ended up dying on a dirty mattress in a crack house before the age of 33. All because of drugs. I can never get past that.
Needless to say, that whole episode did not make me want to try drugs. If anything, drugs scared me even more.

When I moved to NZ, I was absolutely shocked at how wide spread and socially acceptable drugs are.

I was a supervisor in a restaurant and all of the school kids who worked for me seemed to be doing them, talking about them and even using them as an excuse for their tardiness.
I saw my employees sell drugs to each other almost openly.
Once, while having lunch in Napier, on the terrace of one of the restaurants in the middle of the city, in broad daylight, they started passing a joint around! I couldn’t believe it!
There was this one guy- a walking pharmacy-who could get anything for anyone. He would just text one of his numerous “sources” and eventually drugs would materialise.
I was older and wiser, though. I knew in a country as small as New Zealand is, there was no way this behaviour would go unnoticed by the police.
Sure enough, there was infamous drug bust that ended in 2 people dead (one of them a drug dealer, one a police officer) and a three-day stand-off in Napier, closely followed by a nation-wide sting (“Switched-on Gardener” operation).

I’ve talked to a lot of people who used drugs. Some would only do it occasionally, some are addicts… I asked what the effects were on a person from a different substances. It appears different people are affected differently.
One thing all those people have told me is that I should never try any of it. It seems to be a consensus among my friends and acquaintances (some of whom are extremely well-educated and have medical degrees) that due to my control-freak nature I would never have a “good trip” no matter what kind of drug…They say it would just freak me out and I ‘d be absolutely miserable.
Well, I’m glad I’ve made the right decision all those years ago.
I don’t pass judgement: a lot of my friends do drugs occasionally. Some of them handle them better than others. I have a friend who used to be a serious heroin addict for years and it is still a daily struggle for her to stay clean. Another friend just does it from time to time and is what I call a “responsible drug user”…
We are all adults and as such we are our own keepers.
My friends respect the fact that I am not curious about drugs and do not want to try any of it ever. They never ask me to.

I try to avoid clients who are seriously under influence of substances, as it usually affects their performance, which, in turn, causes other problems and could, potentially, make them loose their temper and become violent..

I don’t want  clients  bringing any drugs into my premises, either, as they inevitably would try to get me to do them. I never would and it makes for an unpleasant booking.
Besides, I’ve been reading one of the other WGs blog where she told a story of a client throwing contents of a bottle of rush in her face in the middle of the booking (ostensibly, he brought it in for his own consumption).

I’ve talked about risk assessment and risk management in my previous post and drugs just fall into category of unacceptable risk for me (in more ways than one, as I don’t want police busting down my door in the middle of the booking because my client happens to be a wanted drug dealer).