Socially Using Drugs

I was never a social drinker. My motivation for drinking was to change the way I was felt. My experience with drugs was the same; so it shouldn’t surprise you that I haven’t tried a mind-altering substance I didn’t like. I am not against drugs and alcohol. I am just against drugs and alcohol for me.

Here is my problem. Marijuana seems to be the cool thing lately. More and more states are starting to loosen their laws. If marijuana is cool, and I want to be cool, maybe I should be a pro-legalizing person. But, I am sober, and that kind of thinking seems a little like justifying to me. And, I know where that can take me.

I wanted to learn about the negative side of legalizing drugs, so I went to the DEA website. The Drug Enforcement Agency knows a lot about drugs. Here are some facts I got from their website:

Legalization advocates claim that the fight against drugs has not been won and is, in fact, unwinnable. They frequently state that people still take drugs, drugs are widely available, and that efforts to change this are futile. They contend that legalization
is the only workable alternative. The facts are contrary to such pessimism.

Fact 1: Significant progress has been made in fighting drug use and drug trafficking in America.

A successful drug policy must apply a balanced approach of prevention, enforcement, and treatment. All three aspects are crucial. For those who end up hooked on drugs, there are innovative programs, like drug courts, that offer non- violent users the option of seeking treatment.

Legalizing Drugs
In Their Own Words: Supporters and Opponents of Legalization

Fact 2: A balanced approach of prevention, enforcement, and treatment are the keys in the fight against drug abuse.

There is a popular misconception that some illegal drugs can be taken safely, with many advocates of legalization going so far as to suggest it can serve as medicine to heal anything from headaches to bipolar diseases. Many of today’s drug dealers are savvy businessmen, and know how to capitalize on declining perceptions of risk associated with drug use

Fact 3: Drug use is regulated and access to drugs is controlled because drugs can be harmful.

According to the Institute of Medicine, there is no future for smoked marijuana as medicine. However, the prescription drug Marinol—a legal and safe version of medical marijuana which isolates the active ingredient of THC—has been studied and approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe medicine when used as prescribed. The difference between Marinol and marijuana is that you have to get a prescription for Marinol from a licensed physician—you can’t buy it on a street corner, and you don’t smoke it.

Fact 4: Smoked marijuana has never been and will never be scientifically approved medicine.

Legalization advocates claim that the United States has wasted billions of dollars in its anti-drug efforts. But for those saved from drug addiction, these are not wasted dollars. Moreover, our fight against drug abuse and addiction is an ongoing struggle that should be treated like any other social problem. Would we give up on education or poverty simply because we haven’t eliminated all the problems we have with them?

Fact 5: Drug control spending is a minor portion of the U.S. budget. Compared to the social costs of drug abuse and addiction, government spending on drug control is minimal.

Legalization proponents claim that making illegal drugs legal would not cause more of these substances to be consumed, nor would addiction increase. They claim that many people can use drugs in moderation and that many would choose not to use drugs, just as many abstain from alcohol and tobacco now. Yet how much misery can already be attributed to alcoholism and smoking?

Fact 6: Legalization of drugs will lead to increased use and increased levels of addiction.

Six times as many homicides are committed by people under the influence of drugs than by those who are looking for money to buy drugs. Most drug crimes aren’t committed by people trying to pay for drugs; they’re committed by people on drugs.

The Harvard economist explains why legalizing all drugs—including cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine—would be a better policy than the current prohibition.

Fact 7: Crime, violence, and drug use go hand-in-hand.

The “legalization lobby” claims drugs are no more dangerous than alcohol, no more harmful than smoking cigarettes. But drunk driving is one of the primary killers of Americans. Do we want our bus drivers, nurses, and airline pilots to be able to take drugs one evening, and operate freely at work the next day? Do we want to make “drugged” driving another primary killer?

Fact 8: Alcohol and tobacco have caused significant health, social, and crime problems, and legalized drugs would only make the situation worse.

The “legalization lobby” claims that the “European model” of the drug problem is successful. However, since legalization of marijuana in the Netherlands, heroin addiction levels have tripled. Their “Needle Park” is a poor model for America.

Fact 9: Europe’s more liberal drug policies are not the right model for America.

There is a popular myth that America’s prisons are filling up with drug users arrested for simple possession of marijuana. This is a myth. In reality, a vast majority of inmates in state and federal prison for marijuana have been found guilty of much more than simple possession, and many of those serving time for marijuana possession pled down to possession in order to avoid prosecution on more serious charges.

Fact 10: Most non-violent drug users get treatment, not jail time.

Popular myth: Legalizing and taxing marijuana will help local economies by reducing crime and increasing tax revenue.

The cost of treatment and rehabilitation from addiction and usage associated illnesses far outweighs the cost of any revenue possibly be generated; a government estimate of the cost of drug use just for one year (2002) was more than $180 billion. Regulation hasn’t kept prescription drugs, alcohol, or tobacco from being abused. The excise taxes that are collected from these activities only cover a portion of the costs of their misuse.

I am glad to learn this information. But, I am going to stick to what I know, which is focusing on people who need help because of drug addiction, mental disorders and/or alcoholism.  The bottom line: if you smoke pot and it does not affect my life, then it’s none of my business. If you need help, then I am here for you.

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12 thoughts on “Socially Using Drugs

  1. Very interesting to read about all this.
    To me the core message is that Alcohol and Drugs are considered a problem that affects society and the fact that the elected people behind any government not only the US have not the sensitivity, knowledge and experience to make the right decisions to prevail in any way the abuse of any mind-altering substance.
    In my opinion its not about what do we have to do in order to stop the epidemic abuse of those substances and alcohol but to create an understanding that real people have real issues and use the above mentioned substances or alcohol to alter their mind. For that they are not able to function in that society without those.
    We all are part of that society so we can not rely on any government or its institutions to make the right decisions or give the right direction in that matter.
    We have to be aware of our circle of people we know. We have to give attention to those who struggle and lend them a hand. Each one of us. We have to offer solutions before a person is going down the bad road of substance abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, I am new to your blog. I was wondering, in regard of this post, what are your thoughts on alcohol being viewed as the exception amongst drugs – highly addictive but accepted, even recommended in social situations?

    – Kemy

    Like

    1. You ask a very good question. I am quite biased when it comes to alcohol, because it almost killed me. For me alcohol is very dangerous and very addictive. It certainly seems that our laws are inconsistent, in regards to what we “allow” people to consume “socially”. There is a historical explanation for this. I found it on the DEA site. They said that alcohol and tobacco fall under the Food and Drug Administration. They are classified completely differently than drugs. I am sure it would be near impossible to reclassify these substances, because there is a lot of “big money” involved in these industries.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for your reply. It’s great that you’re opening up, and it’s important to talk about this stuff. What you found out is interesting. Imagine the hell that would break loose if governments decided to classify alcohol as an illegal substance. People are so used to it being part of their social lives, have been for centuries. I would say it’s too late to change that now.

        And from a human perspective, it’s important to be able to decide about our own health, fun, and about the risks we take. But alcohol might be more dangerous than we realize, because it’s so normal to have a drink whenever we want to. The line between a social drinker and an addict is very blurry, even invisible.

        Also, maybe the only way to get away with disallowing drugs is by allowing alcohol. “Sorry, you can’t smoke pot. Here, have a tequila.” If you think about it, it’s ridiculous.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. As a former addict, or better said still an addict just got to fight one minute, one hour and one day and then I can say ” One more day without consuming” I really appreciate that you write about this, and be open. For people like me, at least seems I´m not alone with the struggle.
    And also, as a former soldier….hell you scared the s…t out of me when I saw the first picture…. that was a stupid litlle joke, not the part of being a soldier, the part that you scared me. Anyways anyhows, do like dropping by when time lets me and reading you, good to have people out there talking about these kind of subjects, which as you well know is quite a difficult one

    Liked by 2 people

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