I was quite appalled at Kaitlin Lawler’s unbridled encouragement of opiate use in her article, “Don’t Pass Up Poppies” (Daily Nexus, Feb. 28). And then I realized it was but a mere sophomoric joke, written by a semi-witty English major. But was it?

Either way, her article was disturbing in many ways. I began to use opiates at age 14, and stopped my recreational use in recent years. I have previously dabbled in everything from pure opium to fentanyl to all the acetates you can imagine. Luckily, I never developed an addiction, physiological or psychological, and limited my use to special occasions. However, the vast majority of my friends who used did not have the same luck.

I grew up in a wealthy neighborhood of Tucson, Ariz. Within months of the introduction of OxyContin, multitudes of kids were selling their Xboxes, ripping off their friends and family and running burglary rings. Two of my friends died in an Oxy-related car crash, one overdosed on methadone and I can count six that ended up in rehab; not to mention the 15 or so that have dropped out of human contact. These are my elementary and middle school boys, dammit.

Lawler claims that opiates will “stimulate our latent scholarly pursuits.” Well, if you have ever had any experience with opiates, you know very well about the psychological and physiological numbing effect that is produced when experimenting with these substances – unless you are addicted and only use opiates to maintain a level of unintoxicated normalcy. Your writings reek of either ignorant inexperience or frail and flimsy sarcasm.

I am not one to tell someone which drugs to use and which not to. However, as External Coordinator of Students Teaching Alcohol and other Drug Responsibility (STAR), I feel it is my duty to educate people about the true facts and possible risks associated with drug use. Having this knowledge is essential in making informed and responsible decisions. Nowhere in Lawler’s article did she mention the serious risk of addiction to opiates. She didn’t even mention that most black sticky shit sold as opium isn’t even opium. “Chasing the dragon” does not refer to smoking pure poppy pod sap; it refers to inhaling shwagg-ass, low-grade, unrefined heroin. Her irresponsibility and lack of knowledge in this serious subject is quite disturbing.

I would like to invite everyone reading this column to a free showing of “Requiem for a Dream,” which is being put on by STAR tonight in I.V. Theater 1. Doors will open at 8:30 p.m., and the movie will start at 9. After viewing this film, everyone will, no doubt, know how much flagrant bunk Ms. Lawler’s claim that “opium has sexy vintage appeal” is. Following the movie, one of my childhood friends will tell his story of opiate abuse, discussing his start as a casual user and his progression to a functioning addict, a desperate burglarizing criminal, a one-year rehabilitation patient and now a recovered addict living in a sobriety house. He will also answer questions about this difficult journey. This event was not designed as a scare tactic. It was planned by STAR to provide an entertaining service to the I.V. community. I hope everyone seizes this wonderful opportunity to attend a free screening of the powerful “Requiem.”

And to you, Ms. Lawler, I have done plenty of opiates in my day, and it is quite true that you feel the “happy effects of cerebral alternation” after using. However, I invite you personally to view firsthand the life-engulfing, sanity-shredding consequences of choosing to stay comfortably numb.

Jake Lehman is a third-year global studies major and External Coordinator of Students Teaching Alcohol and other Drug Responsibility.