I guess I should parse this out just a bit.
I have had opportunities to take "drugs" (quote marks to make a point, as there are, in reality, lots of different drugs out there, some legal and some not so much) of the illegal kind, but I can honestly say I have not tried anything. Nope, nothing. Not a single joint, hit, line or whatever the heck else unit of illegal drug use comes in these days. It has simply never appealed to me. Now granted I am admittedly wrapped tighter than most folks, but the odd thing is this: I have never even seriously considered trying an illegal drug. I think part of the dynamic is that I like being in control of my own life and of my own head. The idea that I could ingest something that would change how my brain is considering the world around me sounds frightening in ways I can't describe. It also simply sounds really, really, really stupid. Yes, I said stupid. Why on Earth would I ever want my conscience changed? Any such change would not be real, it would instead be an illusion created by the interaction of chemicals in my head, a fantasy of the short-lived variety that is no more real than the monsters I was affraid of as a little kid.
Alcohol is a slightly different story for me, in that while I have always been very much against the use of illegal substances, there was a fairly long stretch when I would, in fact, drink booze. Even then I never really liked the taste of alcohol, but rather I liked the ever so fleeting feeling I would get of aloofness that consumption provided. That too though came with consequences, and as I got older it became clear that my body did not like the afterwards that comes with alcohol consumption. Case in point: vomiting into a hotel garbage can at 7:30 in the morning after having had hard liquor and wine the night before is about as far from glamorous as one can get. Glamorous? It stinks of being sadly pathetic. I'll also note that my late father was a raging alcoholic all of his life, a fact that was always in the back of my head as I would be vomiting into that garbage can. So it goes that I pretty much stopped drinking alcohol a long time ago, and outside of an occasional glass of wine, I don't touch the stuff. This sometimes turns heads (as it did during a work dinner last week), but so be it: I decide that sobriety is better for me than the alternative.
Looking back, I do regret those times when I was drinking. Oh, and thanks to genetics or some other unknown factor, I could never have "a" drink (it was always...well up until recently...a plural number of drinks). Anyway, there is nothing to be proud of when you are in a dorm shower stall, on your knees, throwing up what looks like some internal organ into a drain. It didn't make me any friends, but rather it just made me look and feel like a weak minded putz. To this very day I remember the sensations of both being drunk and being hung-over...neither are what I would call "fond memories".
What would I say to some young person who is wrestling with decisions about drug and alcohol use? That would be the following: Simply don't do it. These things create a short lived fantasy that over the long term rots your mind, your body and your soul. Alcohol and drugs don't add anything to your life that you are not already capable of adding without them. They are, in fact, nothing but a net subtraction to your life. They distort a reality that is truly wonderful enough without distortion.
In the final analysis I like the fact that at any given time I am facing the world with my eyes, ears and all of my other senses fully functioning and not incumbered by some chemical crap running through my veins. I like my reality, warts and all, as it has one thing going for it that I never get from alcohol or drugs: it is real.