Preferred Name: Artemis
Artemis works full-time in research. He’s in a long-term relationship and lives with a friend. He describes his ethnic background as ‘Caucasian Canadian and Métis’ (mixed European and Indigenous Canadian ancestry): he and his parents were born in Canada.
As a teenager Artemis considered himself to be ‘anti-drugs’. In his early twenties he began smoking cannabis with his partner at the time. A few years later, after he moved to Australia, he started partying regularly with friends and taking ‘party drugs’ including MDMA, GHB, cocaine, ice, ketamine and poppers. Since then he has continued to take these drugs once or twice a month and also smokes cannabis most evenings. Artemis says he ‘might fit some criteria for addiction’, and adds that regular drug use affords him ‘new experiences’ and has no plans to stop in the future.
After moving to Australia in his mid-twenties he found ‘a new sense of independence’. He started partying regularly, meeting lots of ‘different types of people’, and experiencing ‘what it meant to be a gay man and to party’. When going out on weekends he began taking various drugs sometimes referred to as ‘party drugs’, including MDMA, GHB, cocaine, ice, ketamine and poppers. He describes this period as a ‘coming of age adventure’ during which he experienced ‘some of the best times’ of his life. Since then Artemis has continued to take party drugs regularly, mostly taking a combination of GHB and MDMA. On special occasions when seeking ‘endurance’, he takes ice. Artemis also smokes cannabis most evenings after work.
Artemis says he ‘wouldn’t by choice go without drugs for an extended period of time’ and notes that his drug use might ‘meet some of the criteria of addiction’, but also describes it as just one part of his ‘lifestyle’. For Artemis, drugs offer ‘new experiences’. He aims to strike ‘a balance’ between taking drugs and the other things he values in his life such as love, work, and friendship. To help him maintain this balance, he takes occasional breaks from smoking cannabis and buys only small quantities of party drugs.
Taking drugs is ‘the icing on the cake’ of a happy life for Artemis and he doesn’t plan to stop in the near future. However, he sometimes finds it carries ‘financial and physical costs’, and says drugs don’t have the same novelty they once did for him. Because of this, he intends to prioritise ‘quality over quantity’ by taking them only when he thinks he’ll have a good time.
In the next few years he plans to develop his career ‘in a way that’s successful and meaningful’, and to develop his romantic and personal relationships with people he values and respects. He’s also thinking of having a child. Artemis intends to ‘continue to find new ways to understand what it means to be a human being’ and to experience ‘the joys of being alive’.
While Artemis (M, 28, works in education, cannabis and party drugs) says his consumption may meet ‘some of the criteria [for] addiction’, he sees it as part of his lifestyle. (Played by an actor)
I suppose, if I’m strictly honest with myself, I do meet some of the criteria for addiction, and I wouldn’t by choice go without drugs for an extended period of time. But I see my use as fitting well within other aspects of my life and the things that I define as success. So I’d say for me it’s less about a compulsion and more about, you know, chasing new experiences or finding some new way to have fun […So, like, I see it as] a lifestyle. I was going to say ‘habit’, but I don’t really think that’s true. Drugs are a part of my life and part of my lifestyle.
According to Artemis, addiction is a pattern of consumption that disrupts other parts of everyday life. (Played by an actor)
There’s a lot of stigma associated with drug use and with the concept of addiction […] which is kind of a misused and misunderstood term, but I don’t know, what is [it] to me? [It’s, like, when your drug use…] is impeding other aspects of [your life]. It’s encroaching on getting to work on time, accomplishing the things you want to accomplish, seeing your friends, going for brunch with your family. Like, the [kinds] of basic social markers that […] I ascribe to a successful and meaningful life.
While ‘coming down’, Artemis does simple work tasks that don’t require much ‘brain power’. (Played by an actor)
[My drug use] depends really on the level of partying and the amount of time I have to recover […] Last week for example, I was paying the price for an exciting weekend [so…] I was pretty much sick and despondent all week for a weekend that wasn’t really that [much] fun […]
And, like, the thing I really hate about a comedown from drugs [after a big weekend] is that it’s hard for me to remember things. And it’s hard for me to have […] the brilliant connections that […I] need sometimes to be successful [in my job]. So my comedown weeks are data cleaning weeks, you know, or, like, very basic analysis that needs to get done but is boring to do [I’ll do tasks that don’t] require as much of my brain power.
Artemis takes part in sport and other physical activities to maintain his health. (Played by an actor)
I go to the gym five days a week, as every gay man in [this city] is expected to do. I have endurance, I run, I cycle, I play tennis regularly, I swim […] Even though I find the gym incredibly tedious, it’s just the worst, I know the best thing I can do for my brain is to keep my body as healthy as possible […]
[But, yeah] the thing that’s probably most detrimental to my health when I take drugs is the fact that I chain smoke when I’m high. Otherwise I don’t smoke cigarettes, I find them disgusting, but man, when I’m high, I’ll just go through them like a crazy person […] Yeah, cigarettes are probably the thing that bother me the most […] I also think, and this may be a deluded justification, but I also think smoking a pack of cigarettes […] once a month, or once every two weeks, isn’t going to be my undoing, but I could be wrong about that.
After a close call with a sniffer dog, Artemis educated himself about his legal rights if he’s stopped and searched by police. (Played by an actor)
[This one time at a festival] I had, like, maybe two ecstasy tablets in my pocket, and the police were coming towards me [with sniffer dogs…] and I turned right around as I saw them and started to walk away […] I was very lucky to get to the edge of the crowd and drop the pills that I had […]
But after that, I became much more interested and engaged with these issues and questions around, you know, police conduct and the use of dogs as an excuse to search people. And, you know, part of it [is] about educating myself around my rights and the things I should and shouldn’t do in the event that I’m stopped.
Artemis says that recent media coverage of crystal methamphetamine consumption exaggerates the level of ‘problematic use’, reinforcing the stigma surrounding it.
Certainly in the media, addiction is the only discourse when it comes to drug use. I mean, we have to only look to the recent coverage of crystal meth use to like shake our heads and wonder, you know. Everyone is addicted to crystal meth, I take it. Not that crystal meth isn’t very addictive and problematic for some people, there’s no question about that, but […] there are [many more] who use without issue […] In terms of addiction, I mean it’s stigmatising.