First things first, I don’t support the use of mind altering drugs. This isn’t gonna be some 500 word rant about how drugs should be legal. At the same time, I must say that a lot of drugs have an inflated reputation, be it worse or better than they actually are. Alright, with that little disclaimer done, let’s get on to the business.
My biggest problem with the War on Drugs is that it has made the problem worse. That’s right, the War on Drugs has created a whole market for researching new drugs and making current drugs stronger than they have ever been. For one thing, since certain substances have been outlawed, people have turned to using other, less safe chemicals to replace them. More modern drugs like krokodil have gasoline in them in place of other chemicals. Ironic isn’t it. By getting rid of harmful chemicals in drugs they have just been made worse. Furthermore, drugs have become stronger and more concentrated, meaning dealers can sell more stuff within a smaller volume. What does this mean? When people take a dose that they assume is safe, they are actually taking in much more than they think. Lastly, this whole war has just empowered drug cartels as they have filled in the void created by the countless incarcerated US drug dealers. So this covers the issues with America’s plan of attack. Another major issue is recovery
Before I touch on that, I should bring up a famous experiment that many of you have probably heard of. A lab mouse was placed in a cage with two bottles of water; one with regular water, and one with morphine infused water. The mouse, as expected, drank the morphine water, eventually killing itself from overdose. But the scientists running the experiment had an idea. Maybe the mouse was drinking the drugged water because it had no other source of entertainment. So the scientists created a mouse heaven of sorts; a cage with countless mice, toys, and contraptions to occupy the mice. As with before, there was morphine water and regular water, but this time most of the mice hardly ever drank the drugged water. What does this show us? Drug use is a product of being in a bad condition. How does our government respond to this? By putting people in worse conditions. They are put in jails, ridiculed by society, and seen as outcasts. So maybe a better approach would be to create recovery centers that focus on stabilizing peoples lives and addressing the problems that led people down a certain path. There is a wonderfully in depth video that touches on this side of the War on Drugs perfectly here. It’s definitely worth the watch.
Now, lastly is the social stigma around drugs and the problem with our governments rating system for drugs. The schedule system doesn’t rank how deadly a drug is, but rather how likely it is to be abused. This means that schedule 1 drugs aren’t necessarily the worst. In fact you might thing that drugs like LSD, Shrooms, or DMT are horrible, life ruining drugs that can only lead to a downward spiral in life. Well that’s simply not true. Hardly anyone dies while under the influence of these drugs, and more often than not its because of accidents occurring while people are under the influence of these drugs. And even then, that number pales in comparison to the amount of deaths that occur to alcohol or nicotine. And on another note, one of the major distinctions between a legal and illegal drug is its use in medicinal practices. One of the big contenders for becoming legal is shrooms. While its effects are intense, lab reports show that 2/3 people who have taken it only once report an improvement in their lives, with 1/3 labeling it as one of the most important experiences of their entire lives. On top of that, shrooms are non addictive and have no known negative side effects. But before it could become legalized, all research with the drug became illegal, preventing scientists from proving that it could be used for good.
One of the biggest debates going on right now is the legal status of marijuana. On a side note, Weed is called marijuana as part of a anti-drug campaign that tried to give weed a Mexican sounding name, encouraging people to be against it. Back to the story. If we simply compare alcohol and weed, we notice that weed has less long term affects. It’s only major issues are the high risk of lung cancer in smokers, and the deformation of the hippocampus in teens going through puberty. And with those negatives, it has countless positives that outweigh that. Weed use slows the growth of tumors, alleviates vision loss from glaucoma, reduces affects of OCD and tourette syndrome, lowers chances of getting alzheimers, etc. On the flips side, the major problems with alcohol are heavy liver damage, increased rates of cancer, and the destruction of neuron connections within the brain. What good does alcohol do? It removes cholesterol build ups in the arteries and lowers blood pressure. But then again that’s only with one glass of liquor a day. In short term affects, alcohol leads to increased aggression, hence why the children of alcoholics suffer so much abuse. I mean think about, no kid has ever had to seek refuge from their stoner parent.
In short, the War on Drugs is a mess. The government is handling it all wrong, placing too much stigma around it and failing to actually alleviate the problem. They can’t even properly regulate the schedule system and they have stalled research with drugs that could possible be used to cure mental and physical illnesses. Obviously something needs to be fixed…