Man who's taken 182 drugs says worst one was common baking ingredient
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Hundreds of thousands of people die of drug overdoses every year, but that doesn’t stop people from taking them.
So in the hope of saving some of those lives, author Dominic Trott has written the ultimate ‘guide’ to taking drugs.
People across the globe use all sorts of substances to alter their minds; some legal, some illegal, some much more mild than others.
But with the exception of alcohol and medication, there typically aren’t any 'instructions' to help users know how much they should be taking, or when they need a break.
It seems obvious that that’s because most of the substances are illegal - but just like with the threat of overdosing, the threat of getting into trouble with the law doesn’t stop people from doing it.
That’s where Trott comes in.
The author, who is 64 years old, believes that if we can’t stop people from taking drugs we should at least ensure they have access to information which aims to lessen their chances of hurting themselves.
Over the last decade, Trott has dedicated his time to trying 182 different drugs, from weed to ecstasy, mushrooms to LSD, ketamine to nutmeg. Yes, like the spice, but we’ll come back to that later.
He recorded his dosage, the procedure around taking each drug and his experience while on it, and compiled all of the information into The Drug User’s Bible; a hefty book which was finally published in its entirety in October.
“Education saves lives,” Trott told UNILAD following the publication of his book. “I felt that the government should have really written something like this. They should provide this information; it should be taught somehow through the system to people who are going to take drugs or might take drugs. And it isn’t.
“And, you know… I thought, I really have got to do this. And I've got to do this, because nobody else is doing it.”
Though you might expect otherwise, Trott actually was not a big drug user in his younger years. He tried some substances at university in Liverpool, including cannabis and LSD, but it wasn’t until his late 40s that he really began his journey into the wider world of drugs.
It began with an interest in humanitarianism when Trott met people who had been wrongfully imprisoned for drugs, and developed as he realised that people he met on forums began ‘disappearing off the radar’ due to issues with their drug use.
“There was always some reason something behind [their deaths or health issues], there was a mistake or error, lack of information, lack of clarity, like of basic procedure and self care, really,” Trott explained.
During his early research, Trott learned of a psychedelic which promised a transformative experience, allegedly best taken with a shaman in the Amazon. He travelled to Peru to try it, and realised afterwards that a simple spreadsheet detailing some of his experiences wasn’t going to be enough.
"I could publish the spreadsheet, but it will just be lost. Or I could embark on this 10 year mission,” he said. So that’s what he did.
Trott took steps to lessen his chances of being arrested or incarcerated for taking drugs by travelling to places where it was easier to get his hands on them, while a schedule and cycle of different categories of drugs, such as such as stimulants, psychedelics and sedatives, helped prevent Trott from becoming addicted.
The author also did as much research as he could using forums and online sources to figure out his dosage for each new experience.
His book offers dosage recommendations for anyone planning to take any of the 182 drugs, but with the caveat that everyone is different, and therefore will have a different tolerance. He urges people to test the substances ‘to make sure it’s what they think’, as well as doing an ‘allergy test’ before taking larger doses, noting ‘you can always have more’, but you can’t have less.
Trott learned this the hard way, admitting he was ‘not always successful’ when it came to measuring doses, but trying all the same to find a ‘reasonably strong’ dose to ensure he could adequately note the effects.
There were a few times when he took ‘far too much’, describing his experience with heroin as ‘a mistake’ and the prescription drug pregabalin as leaving him feeling ‘really ill’.
His worst experience of them all, though, was nutmeg. Trott came across the spice, which acts as a deliriant, in a book about legal highs in his early 20s and decided to give it a go.
“[It was an] awful, terrible experience,” Trott said. “I did it about eight o’clock, and I was really disappointed because I thought ‘I'm gonna get high tonight’.
“It takes about three hours to take effect. Nobody tells us that… And so I went to bed.
“About two or three o'clock in the morning, I woke up and my head was spinning and I was dizzy and I needed to go to the loo. So I got out of bed, I couldn't stand up. And I'm literally crawling.. [I remember] pulling my hands up and [seeing] glue coming out.
"I sort of got there and I couldn't urinate, [then] I managed to get back, the floors [were tipping], and it was not in a nice way. The next day I still had a headache. My stomach was sore, I couldn't go into work on Monday, I was ill for a week. It’s a poison.”
Trott’s experience with nutmeg helped inform the section of The Drug User’s Bible on deliriums, which the author described as ‘your experience coming apart and being put together in the wrong way’.
“The sensory organs are just not working correctly, and they're coming back together in the wrong way and your perception of what's around is totally wrong,” he explained. “And you end up in serious trouble. If you survive the drug, you're probably going to be maimed or psychologically damaged for some time.”
It was the grim ordeal he had on nutmeg that put Trott off taking drugs for years, and what made him reluctant to take another deliriant, datura, when writing his book. But with kids on forums talking about taking it, he ‘knew [he] had to try it’ so he could properly discuss its impact.
“That's why I had to have some of the drugs that I really didn't want to, and datura was one of them. Because it was a deliriant and I'd been so badly burned with nutmeg… One of the problems with datura is that one seed can be seven times more powerful than the next.
"Now in terms of dosages, you can imagine the nightmare that is. [You can have] seven really powerful seeds, which is sort of equivalent of 49 weak ones, which is potentially going to kill you at that level.
“I had to have every drug I could that was in popular use, simply because […] if the police or the government say don't do that, you know, it doesn't have any carry any weight.
“But if someone who’s actually had 182 drugs is saying, ‘No, you don't really want to do that. But if you do want to do it, do that’, there's a chance they might listen,” he said.
It’s not all facts and figures, with Trott noting that there are some funny experiences that he’s documented in his book, as well as sections dedicated to ‘how to handle yourself in the real world’, legal advice and drug tourism.
Above all, though, he’s ‘just been completely honest’.
Looking back on his decade of research, Trott doesn’t think the drugs have had a lasting impact on his body, but they’ve definitely left their mark on his mind.
“In terms of mental health, I've changed. And I've changed because of the psychedelics… it's sort of made me think, ‘What I should be doing? How can I help others?’,” he explained.
Trott isn’t concerned that his book will encourage non-drug users to get into the habit, expressing belief that ‘if you've picked up a book called The Drug User’s Bible, you're interested in taking drugs’.
He is hopeful, however, that it could provide information to those who are concerned about drug use, for example the parents of teenagers.
Trott explained: “I’ve got two kids, and you're thinking, ‘Well, you know, they're in a situation where they might be taking drugs, should there be fore-armed? Should they actually know if they're going to take a drug?
“You've got this choice of letting the child go into this risky situation without being armed with facts and data and safety information and just, you know, taking a risk. Or [you can] arm them with harm reduction or safety procedure and knowledge about the drugs that are prevalent in the location before they go into it. You have the power to do that.”
Trott has put the ’10 commandments’ of drug taking into a free PDF that can be downloaded online, but for those who choose to buy his book, he’s urged that you ‘don’t skip the safety measures’, saying: "You’re cheating yourself.
“Information and knowledge is empowerment."
He embarked on his mission because he ‘felt it was going to be useful’, and though it’s been a long road, he believes one thing is for certain: “It's going to save lives.”