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The Lord Helps Those...

The Library of Babel

Welcome New Students!

Your Hellish University

Theological Etiquette

Abstain from Credit

Abstain from Stupid Sex

Abstain from Alcoholism

The Beautiful and Damned

Frugalness Is Next to Godliness

Celestial Sounds

Telling college students to stay away from drugs is like telling priests to stay out of altar boys: It's a heavenly ideal, but it's simply not going to happen. Just as responsible priests-on-the-prowl must strategize to minimize their risks—say, aiming for sons of single mothers, who are 65 percent less likely to press charges—so must responsible collegiate drug dabblers do their best to ensure that their chemical and herbal adventures lead to healthy adulthoods blessed with elevated insight and entertaining memories rather than hideous desperation in the gutter, the morgue, or a toxic trailer in Pierce County.

Like the Garden of Eden's ban on the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, the world of drugs has one monolithic no-no: Don't do crystal meth. Whatever its mental and genital benefits, crystal methamphetamine is a chemical weapon of mass destruction that leads to nothing but friendlessness, toothlessness, and insanity. If you're looking to poison yourself, use strychnine. If you need a pick-me-up for your all-night study session, stick to coffee, Red Bull, and Imodium.

However, as in Eden, beyond the one Great Forbidden lie a thousand allowable delights, fully supported by scripture, from Romans 12:2 ("Be not conformed to this world: But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind") to Corinthians 6:12 ("All things are lawful unto me").

First and foremost among the permissible delights is marijuana, for which we thank God in the Psalms: "He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man." Those of you who attended American public high schools are most likely familiar with "the chronic," and presumably understand the necessity of marijuana moderation (otherwise you wouldn't be in college, but sleeping in a pile of Funyuns crumbs in your parents' basement). For the novitiates, the rules of successful pot enjoyment are simple: Don't spend more time high than not, and don't force others to share your love of the drug. Like God, pot is a moody bitch who affects everyone differently. For every student who finds solace in the bong, another finds nothing but panic, paranoia, and heart palpitations.

Other substances of note:

Ecstasy: As Jesus commands in John 15:12, "Love one another, as I have loved you." Few things facilitate such universal love like the popular party drug Ecstasy, whose chemicals conspire to create a three-to-six-hour euphoria that tricks users into falling in love with everything. It sounds absolutely wonderful, like Jesus with all His endorphins forced into His system by a chemical sledgehammer. But proceed with caution: For every hill there's a valley, and the day after Ecstasy can leave users emotionally fragile and existentially bleak. Like fasting and masturbation, the use of Ecstasy should occur no more than twice a year.

Hallucinogens: God loves tripping so much He devoted a whole book of the Bible to it: Revelation features everything from seven-headed sea-beasts to fire-breathing horses with the heads of lions and tails of snakes. If this sounds like a zoo you'd like to visit, take hallucinogens as soon as possible. Whatever your choice of "trip"—be it LSD, peyote, or "'shrooms"—know that tripping can be a profound experience that should not be undertaken lightly. If you're looking for goofy kicks, stick to pot and booze. If you're looking for a one-way ticket to the infinite, take a trip, and do it right. Set aside a day, stay away from mirrors, and for God's sake, don't answer the phone. As for the over-the-counter pleasures of Robitussin and cough syrup: Matthew 9:12 is clear: "They that are whole need not the physician's medicine, but they who are sick." So leave the "sizzurp" for the infirm.

Cocaine: You can't afford it, and God forbids everything that would inspire someone to give you coke for free.

Heroin: Early in his lifetime career of depravity, Lou Reed wrote that heroin made him "feel just like Jesus' son." Well, I can tell you, Jesus didn't have a son. He didn't even have a penis. Which means using heroin feels like diving into a vast, penis-less abyss. Don't do it.

However you proceed on the path of collegiate drug use, always remember the wisdom of Philippians 4:5: "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand."