Back when I was in high school, there was only one kind of ‘herbal supplement': the magic jay bone. Quizzing me and my horde of giggling compatriots in the back of senile Mrs. Johnson’s fourth period Remedial English class, any researcher who cared to have asked would have found that the ratio of herbal supplement takers to illegal drug users was one to one.
Anyway, I have no idea what they mean by herbal supplements nowadays — these kids, with their techno and banana phones and rapping Grannies, I’ll tell ya — but researchers of a study by the University of Rochesster Medical Center has found an association between teens who take herbal supplements and drug use. Among the associations cited: teens who use herbal supplements are six times more likely to do cocaine, nine times more likely to do heroin and 14 times more likely to do steroids.
Is it really any surprise that the sort of kids who think they can “increase performance” by taking a supplement are going to go on to more hardcore enhancers when whatever effect they thinks it had wears off? It’s the philosophy of taking things to “enhance yourself” that is the problem, especially with kids… and kids get these ideas from fucking adults. Perhaps the real problem here is a culture where kids are pressured to decide the course of their entire lives before they’ve even popped their last zit, where authority figures endlessly insinuate that a failure now will have you hauling steaming slabs of cow around an industrial freezer for the rest of your life. None of this is true. But it doesn’t stop nearly every parent, teacher and authority figure from terrorizing teenagers with the same old tropes. Flunk that mid-term? Don’t get a perfect score on the SATs? Drop out of high school? Every kid should be told it doesn’t matter. Everyone makes their own way.