Drug addiction takes its toll in furry fandom
To many furs in the world, young and old, the fandom and the content it produces can be a form of escape. A way to engage in a fantasy world with conjured characters. It works as a means to forget the menial and divisive day to day events. It keeps them sane in a world that can lose it in the spur of a moment.
Drugs in which are utilized recreationally also provide such escapes for some. Through stimulation or suppression of the senses, the user can achieve a state of mind that can help them take an edge off the sharp protrusions in life.
However, just because both tools seem to be a means to the same end, it does not mean that these worlds do not overlap. In many circles in the fandom the usage of these substances can be seen as revered, one such group that is a famous example call themselves the “Baked Furs” are well known for their pro-marijuana stances and usage.
Unfortunately, as drug culture has continued to grow along with the growth of the fandom itself, the dark side of these habits is becoming far more prevalent. A recent death of one furry has pushed the conversation to one that can no longer be ignored by the community. Today we go these examples of substance abuse in the fandom, and the impacts that it has had.
Ambulances in abundance
Midwest Furfest had a big problem in 2017, one that was covered by a furry formerly known as Fjord Frost (whose main fursona is now Quartz Husky). In a video he describes a dangerous culture around drugs that exists within the furry fandom. The most notable of these anecdotes was the description of a social gathering called a 'pill party'. At these room parties you have to drop a pill into the bowl prior to entry, in exchange you pick one out of the bowl and ingest it. I'm guessing there would be a random assortment thrown in at the start, otherwise there'd only be one pill in the bowl at given time.
It doesn’t take a pharmacist to see how dangerous such an act can be. Most people are going to be completely in the dark about what the pill that they picked from the bowl is going to do. If they have medical conditions or take other medications, they may end up taking something that has an adverse reaction with other drugs they take. In those circumstances it could have the same implications as playing Russian Roulette.
Irresponsible behaviors such as these create a frequency in which emergency workers are called to a convention in order to deal with individuals who are chemically compromised. It became quite an unfortunately standard site to see an ambulance parked at the curb of the Hyatt during the night and early morning hours. Their purposes being there could have been other issues such as injury or intense illness not related to drugs as well. However, when drugs are the first thing that furs assume these days when they see one, it highlights how much of an issue it has become.
While loneliness is a thing we often want to avoid, we can find that the wish to avoid it sometimes takes us down paths that can later haunt us. Peer pressure is something our government often tells us to avoid when dealing with the others our age trying to get us to do 'cool' things when we’re younger. Unfortunately the government lays off such advice when we’re adults. Probably because they utilize peer pressure in the form of partisanism in order to retain power, but that’s none of my business I suppose, and a bit off topic.
The reality is that when we’re rubbing elbows with our fellow furs, some have different relations with different drugs. For those who don’t want to appear to be rude, or as an outsider of the group amongst those that find drugs a normalcy of social interaction, it can be easy to be roped in by a sense of social obligation. After awhile for those who implement it into their habits this way, the joyous times held with friends in this environment soon enough becomes tied with the stimuli produced by the drug itself so that it becomes seen as a part of the individual.
In other words, they could start taking the drug of choice to evade the lonely feelings they have when they are alone.
For those who remain sociable, such as Alkali or Kage who are popular furs both known for their drinking habits, the behavior isn’t questioned as much by the individuals who have the habit. It becomes embraced by themselves and others as a lovable personality quirk. However, for those unfortunate enough to fall out of social grace, the key to their happiness and fitting in amongst their friends by partaking in the same drugs they do can become an expensive hindrance that holds them back in their ability to recover and to make other accomplishments. No longer is it seen as an quaint eccentricity, but a self inflicted wounding burden.
2 the Ranting Gryphon, in a video titled “I’m quitting” in June 2017 discussed his desire to break his habit of addition surrounding alcoholic beverages. In it he describes the road to becoming dependant. He describes it as a phenomenon, not in which one gets drunk with intensity, but when one becomes adapt at drinking casually and constantly. They live their life a constant state of intoxication. It's part of you from the time you wake up to the time you turn in.
After that video he covered the recovery process in a series of videos called Finding Sobriety, the last being on December 2017 that discussed his progress in getting back to not being overly intoxicated all the time and back to what he considered a more reasonable levels.
“I can’t imagine being like that again,” he said of his state of drunkenness in the earlier part of the year. “The only thing you wind up doing is going out to get your booze, and that’s all you can manage to do because that’s all your energy.”
The word alcoholic is typically an adjective used to describe a beverage that is fermented and can make one drunk. In a dark poetic sense, when the adjective becomes a noun, it is defined as a person who is so lost in that bottle that the content becomes the entirety of their identity as well. As if the booze within became anthropomorphised into the form of the human consuming it, and thus the person has become in a way consumed by the drink themselves.
Colwyn Collie loses their life to heroin
The time when the impact drug use is seen at its worst is when a loved one who is caught in the snare of addiction. The opioid crisis is a growing issue that has had a major impact in Midwestern part of the United States, a region that is home to some of the largest fur conventions. One sadly viral story came to light of a journalist from North Dakota whose own daughter lost their own life due to her dependency on the drugs in question, while she herself was covering the crisis.
Furry is not immune from these tragic events either. One furry Youtuber, Kero Wolf, whose channel typically consist of more light-hearted videos (though probably most remembered for his interview with ‘normie’ Youtube celebrity Shane Dawson about furries) had taken the time to do a more sombre video about his boyfriend. Colwyn Collie was found dead in his apartment by his family on a Sunday after the fur had died the Friday before when he had overdosed on heroin that afternoon.
In the video he passionately describes his wish for the fandom to be more reflexive on its drug habits and to know its limits. He asks for people who use drugs in an irresponsible way to understand the negative impacts those behaviors can have on others around them. Also, he requests that those who see this behavior of self destruction in others be there to help them to stop them from the road they travel if the see something wrong.
“I don’t want anyone feeling what I’m feeling right now,” Kero proclaimed. “No one’s talking about this, we need to be talking about this.”
Awareness in community and in self
The hardest reality is that while we should try and help those who wish to lower their intake, or eliminate their dependencies, we also have to respect one another as adults to make proper decisions on how we wish to spend our finite time on this planet. It is far too easy for those who live without drugs in our lives to seem elitist to those that do let their hair down. I personally have had some more party-hard furries that have roomed with me accuse me of giving a glance that seemed judgemental in my sober state, despite myself understanding that people need outlets for their life stresses. That’s absolutely fine to do so.
Because of this reality, self assessment is a key to successful change. I believe that one can find if they need to seek help comes down to one simple question: “When I am using am I enjoying myself as a result, or am I feeling that it is hindering in my enjoyment of life?”
If it is the former, then continue to enjoy yourself responsibly. As soon as the answer to that question leans more to the second part, it’s at that point that you should look for real help from others to bring the drug taking behaviors back to healthier levels. And please look to your friends and loved ones for guidance to help. The sooner one recognizes when they crossed that threshold and seeks the help they need, the better and easier it is to make the changes desired.