Low life

My 2015 pharmacopoeia: ecstasy, decapepyl, abiraterone, tamsulosin, cocaine...

It was one tablet after another — legal and illegal

2 January 2016

9:00 AM

2 January 2016

9:00 AM

For me, last year started with an appalling whitey outside a pub after swallowing a second ecstasy tablet because I thought the first wasn’t working. I was saved by a young woman yelling ‘Catch me!’ and taking a running jump into my arms — which forced me back to the physical realm — and by being violently sick. The ecstasy came in the form of small white circular unmarked pharmaceutical-grade tablets. The second was passed on to my tongue via the tongue of someone I had met for the first time two minutes before.

After that, 2015 was one tablet after another — legal and illegal. I also injected. Once a quarter, I stood beside an orange plastic NHS chair, dropped my trousers and a nurse administered a depot injection of a drug called decapeptyl into the soft flesh of an upper buttock. Decapeptyl inhibits my testosterone production to almost nothing. We alternated buttocks. ‘It was the left/right one last time, wasn’t it, dear?’ she’d say. Decapeptyl is a clear syrupy liquid, of which I receive 10ml. The gloop sits under the surface of my skin and I can trace its lumpy outline with a finger.

The decapeptyl stops all testosterone production except the little contributed by my adrenal glands. To mop that up, and make me unambiguously female, every morning throughout 2015 I swallowed four white torpedo-shaped 250mg tablets of a drug called abiraterone. I am blessed with an unusually wide gullet and could fire them down all four at a time. I never missed a day. I never missed my daily burgundy and caramel caplet of tamsulosin, either. Latterly the abiraterone pills made me tire easily, and I swallowed them resentfully. It wasn’t ever like that with the tamsulosin. The caplet with the snazzy jacket has always been my best friend, for without it I can’t pass urine.

I looked fondly, too, on the daily steroid pill called prednisolone, which I took to compensate for my knocked-out adrenal glands and which gives me a noticeable mental lift. A prednisolone pill is a tiny white roundel with the letters P and M stamped elegantly on it. What P and M stand for, I don’t know. Poor Me, perhaps. Being so small, my daily steroid is a devil to recapture if I fumble and it drops on a hard floor. I’ve known prednisolone 5mg tablets to bounce incredible distances, even into the next room.

With zero testosterone in 2015, erections were a bit hit and miss. I was extremely grateful to everyone concerned, therefore, that, after I went down on bended knee, they put me on a daily maintenance dose of the anti-impotence drug tadalafil, brand name Cialis. This is the most attractive tablet of them all: a pale orange ovoid with a copperplate letter C and a rococo number 5 engraved on it. When dropped on a hard floor they bounce erratically like little rugby balls and also go for miles. I pulled my bed away from the wall one day to look for an errant prednisolone, and found two dusty tadalafils — or a third of an erection.

In 2015 I also added the humble aspirin to my pharmacopoeia after reading in the Daily Mail that it is now believed to cure everything except prescription-drug addiction. I could just about fit this last addition into my pillbox, which is a 1930s bakelite powder puff three inches across, decorated with an intriguing art-deco design, which, I have finally concluded, after looking at it for a whole year, can only be a heavily stylised depiction of an exciting finish in a spermatozoa race. All these pills and potions give me catastrophic indigestion, so I chase them down with a daily antacid called omeprazole, which is a caplet of a vivid and vulgar Warhol-esque yellow.

On the whole, the coke last year was rubbish. In my home town the coke was on sale at cynical two-tier rates: £50 for a gram of tropical-fish wormer containing less than one per cent cocaine and £100 for a gram of tropical-fish wormer containing anything up to two per cent. Best avoided unless you keep fish. Someone once gave me a syringe of pure cannabis oil, claiming that if I consumed enough of it I would be cured. I put a tiny amount into my nicotine vapouriser and it nearly blew my head off. The potency of skunk weed continues its oblique upward trajectory off the scale and now I simply run away. Modafinil, the so-called ‘smart’ drug I was offered by a reader on The Spectator cruise, I like very much however, and it’s legal. It suits me, I think. Though whoever ‘me’ is, after taking all those pills and potions during 2015, is highly questionable.

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  • John Lewis

    I must say, I like Modafinil too. It’s like Berocca if Berocca actually worked the way they suggest it does. It’s legal and well-tested and cheap.

    • oldoddjobs

      Take it with Berocca

  • JSC

    You should beware of Modafinil, in my experience taking it for any period of time has a tendency to make a person monomaniacal, sleep deprived and pseudo-bipolar. Not my cup of tea that’s for sure.

    • oldoddjobs

      Sample size = 1

      • JSC

        Actually my girlfriend also experienced similar effects with it, so that’s sample size = 2. I’m not saying it should be banned, just that (IMHO) it’s unpleasant stuff. from the FDA:

        “…one-third of participants in clinical trials reported experiencing headaches; 11% reported nausea; other negative side-effects such as nervousness, diarrhea, insomnia, anxiety, dizziness, and gastrointestinal problems were reported by less than 10% of participants” … “The long term safety and effectiveness of modafinil have not been determined.” … [on overdose] “… a number of adverse experiences were observed, including excitation or agitation, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, aggressiveness, confusion, nervousness, tremor, palpitations, sleep disturbances, nausea, and diarrhea.” … “Reported withdrawal symptoms include anhedonia, lethargy, anxiety, and insomnia.”

        • oldoddjobs

          Same goes with anything, really. Read the warnings on Aspirin.

          I’m using my own sample size of 1 here, too, by the way. I have experienced mild headaches, but not the other stuff. So whether or not it’s unpleasant stuff depends a lot on the user.

  • King Kibbutz

    It’s a funny carry on isn’t it, when having a pint of beer and a cig’ of a working dinnertime (lunch?), has been designated as the practice of demons to be serially admonished until it is faint history; and yet, there is here and elsewhere, the distinct air of brimming titillation at the prospect of young, perfectly healthy people, ingesting obscure substances of dubious beneficence in such a mood of gleeful and applauded recreation.

  • Zhang Wei

    This guy is a lightweight he should try DMT, I guarantee it well end his association with any form of illegal narcotic after he tries it.

    • oldoddjobs

      Stick to the life-enhancing legal drugs instead.

  • Migru Ghee

    Don’t ask me how and why I ended up at a Fatboy Slim concert from 3 till 5am on the New Year’s Day.
    The point I am making here, the only way of getting into that venue was by queuing in a VIP queue for 30 minutes (what is VIP about queuing?) and then lining up in rows of twenty do be checked, under floodlight (!), outdoors in the rain believe it or not, by Gestapo sniffer cocker spaniel looking for illegal highs. Anyone who had a spliff the night before, NYE, or hadn’t washed their jeans for two weeks when they had a roll up at xmas, was picked out, taken to one side never to be seen again (gloves!). I p***ed myself laughing at that point.

    The point about the point I was making is this: ‘legality’ is an entirely arbitrary term and you are fooling only yourselves, gents.

  • SonOfTheIsles

    What is this, “Diary of a Loser”?