freedom of choice

Kids these days (drugs)

About a week ago, I read an article in the local paper about how more and more kids that use drugs recreationally are using prescription drugs instead of “street” drugs. To me, this is just another chink in the armor of the idea that drug laws are designed to “protect” people. Over the years, drugs like cocaine and heroin have been totally demonized while alcohol has mostly escaped criticism. If you look at the history of the legislation, it’s clear that there was a real racial motive to banning those “dangerous” drugs. Now there are legal drugs that are at least as addictive and powerful as the illegal ones, so what’s a drug moralist to do?

“Street drugs” are dangerous of course, but the government’s efforts in the “War on Drugs” have been an overwhelming disaster. We have an enormous number of people in jail and with criminal records for what is really a personal decision. In other words, we have taken people with problems and thrown them in jail “for their own good.” I’m not going to get into the amount of money spent doing this…

Anyway, more and more people aren’t using those dangerous drugs, they’re using the dangerous drugs in their medicine cabinet. All powerful drugs are dangerous, not just the ones that are sold on the street. Are we going to start demonizing those now? Probably not. We do need to understand that the new generation isn’t drawing the cut and dried divide between illegal and legal drugs like previous generations did. I actually think that’s a healthier attitude. It can go either way, “All drugs are the same, so I can take anything I want!” or “All drugs are the same, so I should be careful with all of them.” are equally likely. What we need to do is educate more people on the dangers of not only heroin, meth, and cocaine but prescription pills and alcohol. With enough education, we should be able to cut back on punishing people that are self medicating for various problems. They have enough problems without the threat of incarceration…

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