I swear or affirm that:

  • I understand the effects of all recreational drugs I take, to the best of my ability. I shall research the neurochemical, psychological, physiological, spirituality effects, the legal issues surrounding the drug and its use.
  • When taking a drug I am inexperienced with, I shall begin with the lowest dose suggested to be psychoactive by the aforementioned research before progressing to higher dosages. I will measure the drug carefully, with an accurate scale.
  • If it is possible that the drug may contain harmful adulterants or in fact be a different drug altogether, I shall have the drug chemically analyzed for purity and content.
  • I will learn the overdose limits for my own body weight and adjust them for any possible synergistic effects due to diet, prescription or other drugs. I will also adjust for dangerous side effects and my own health condition. After calculating my personal limit, I will stay under 75% of this limit, to minimize risk.
  • While under the effects of a drug, I shall not take physical risks such as driving, climbing, swimming, or any other physical activity in which my actions may cause harm to myself or others.
  • When first using a drug I am inexperienced with, I shall take it in the company of an experienced user, also known as a spotter. The spotter will remain sober during this experience, and will also have fully researched the drug.
  • I shall not attempt to sway, force, trick, or otherwise coerce another person to take any drug; rather, I shall discuss previous drug experiences and research frankly and honestly, allowing all people to make their own personal decisions about drug use.
  • I shall defend the rights of others to make educated, responsible decisions about drug use. I shall not support any person or movement that attempts to remove or abridge said rights.
  • I shall not allow my drug use to overshadow or disrupt the other important aspects of my life, including social interaction, employment or even other personal pursuits.
  • I will also take responsibility for the drug use of friends and relatives, if their drug use becomes dangerous to their health or personal relationships.

I swear this with the hope of creating a society in which safe, responsible drug use is a personal decision, not a criminal offense.

As this is a work in progress, much like all of E2, I've taken one of C-Dawg's suggestions, adding the statement about chemical testing. Anonymous testing companies do exist, and if DanceSafe is any indication, they may well proliferate in the future. As for C-Dawg's statement about taking responsibility for the drug use of friends and family: we live in a society where the mistakes of one drug abuser can hurt the rights of thousands of drug users. If all responsible drug users were carefully aware of the drug use of their friends and family, and tried to step in when problems occured, we could have a much greater effect in saving lives than the entirety of the War On Some Drugs.

  • I understand the effects of habituation, and therefore I shall exercise caution and significantly reduce the quantity of any familiar drug I use when taking the drug in a new and different environment for the first time.

This caution is warranted due to the effects of habituation, a form of conditioning not isolated to drug use. The basic theory goes that the environment in which one is accustomed to using a drug eventually stimulates the compensatory response your body makes to the drug. In the absence of the environment as a stimulus, the effect of the drug will then be much greater than one expects. Studies have shown, for example, that most heroin overdoses occur when an addict does his or her normal dose in an unusual environment. For example, someone accustomed to shooting up in their own home might O.D. if they shoot up in the park, even with their normal dose.

This sounds like a good idea, and I applaud George Dorn for suggesting it.
However, I have issues with two of the points:

I will begin with the lowest dosage...
I will measure the drug carefully...
It is not possible for the typical person to accurately promise this.
One of the effects of the War On Some Drugs is that the ultimate consumer can have no assurance that the substance e is ingesting is what it purports to be, nor any recourse if it isn't. Indeed, much of the physical damage inflicted upon the user, and which then foments horror stories, is traceable to the product being impure (laced, cut, or a total impostor). This happens not only through accidents of manufacture, but because it is in the best interests of the producer (wrt legal risks) to pass off a substitute if he can get away with it, and of the distributor (wrt his profit) to dilute it.
Even though someone might say that there is sometimes a slight benefit from this, in that the addiction potential may be decreased relative to the drug in its pure form, the fact is that addiction is not intrinsically harmful, and I would disagree that that balances the dangers posed by some of the contaminants that we see on the street.
I will take responsibility for the drug use of others....
You cannot be responsible for the actions of another, but I applaud your presumed promise to try to get them to stop if they take their use to a dangerous level.

Commentary

This idea is something I've had in mind for a long time, and I posted this write-up long before I started seeing a public service announcements on US television expressing sentiments such as "using drugs supports terrorism". So don't down-vote me because I appear to echo this sentiment; in fact I don't. That is why I used words like "embrace" and "shun" instead of more absolute words. My point is that if you buy drugs from some looser on the corner, its like taking a piss in public -- true, it may do no lasting damage, but the people who live there shouldn't have to clean up after you, and they are the ones (besides you) who get hurt if you get caught with your stuff out...so to speak. You certainly can't control international terrorism, but you can control whose hands the drugs pass through immediately before yours.

Of course, if you think beyond the middleman, drugs often do support terrorism...but no more so than oil, diamonds, or indeed, money itself.

Legalizing drugs would help incalculably; I imagine a future multi-national cocaine conglomerate would take a page from the DeBeers marketing department and start competing on the basis that their brand of coke is terror-free!

In the end, we all have to decide as a matter of conscience the extent of the moral implications of our economic behavior. Henry David Thoreau didn't pay a tax because he knew some of it would be used to finance the Mexican War. Did trade and investment in Apartheid-era South Africa prop up an evil system, or did it help that country transform into a democracy? I leave the question as an exercise for the reader...best performed while tending your own garden and hoping for a bountiful, trouble-free harvest.

You better grow your own.

Back in the seventies we thought it was like that, us against the narcs, a few rebels who thought people deserved to live in a chemically-enhanced universe versus an army of unsmiling Joe Fridays who wanted to stamp out any vestige of non-conformity. And make us stay in Vietnam.

The thing is, people kept dying. Oh, there were some famous folk like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. And I took that seriously. No needles for me. No heroin either. But the drugs kept coming, those brave souls who stood against the Man, and provided us with the stuff.

What we didn't talk about so much until the eighties, or maybe ignored, was the other human price of drugs: violence and crime. Keith Richards can afford to be a junkie, after all he's a multi-millionaire. Robin Williams wasn't far wrong when he said, "Cocaine addiction is a sign you're making too much money." And in order to get that much money you had better be rich and famous, or you'll probably have to steal.

First from your family and friends. Then your employer. Oh, if you do a line about twice a year, you're probably fine, but Rosemary Clooney was also right when she said "(drugs) make you feel really good!" Hard to stop there when everyone wants to feel really good. A friend of mine's son stole from her constantly, and she ended up giving him money for drugs just to preserve peace at home. Or you can start doing break-ins or knocking over convenience stores to get a few bucks. I was once robbed at gunpoint for $14, money the cop told me was used to buy some reefer.

Of course most of that happens in the bad neighborhoods, which is where junkies live because almost nobody can afford to be an addict. So most of the victims happen to be the people who have nothing because it's a lot easier to case a joint in a neighborhood where you belong. While in the hood you can serve as an inadvertent role model for underprivileged children, who get to see the rewards of capitalism from the point of view of the child of an unskilled, or semi-skilled, laborer.

Of course not everyone has to steal to get money for drugs. You can always sell yourself. Pretty girls have it easier, why they can sometimes ride along with someone who for the moment has the cash and the goods, but if now, well if you're pretty there's a man out there willing to give you money for a taste. You can shake it and sell it and when the needle goes in you'll feel really good too. Until the rush fades.

Women like that often enhance the appeal of that other oft-overlooked role model, the pusher. Dealers have money, nice cars and girls. They live the good life, unlike all those Poindexters sweating in the physics lab. Dealers have goodies to distribute too, particularly if you manage to forget that shooting you saw the other night. When mom can't afford to buy you new shoes despite working two jobs, the pusher-man can toss you a buck now and then. Life looks good there.

Of course life isn't terribly long for Mr. Dealer-Man. At least not at the street level. Drugs cost real money, and they bring in real money which is what allows Mr. Pusher Man to afford that fancy car and his fancy women. That much money matters. Which is why in the eighties the romantic image we had of the drug industry began to fade. Began to fade when street gangs competed to dominate the drug business, and the drive-by shooting became a way of life in many communities. The drive by is a fine urban tactic, a car moving through the neighborhood is perfectly normal. If the situation doesn't look good, keep the gun down. But if you get a shot take it. Better to use an Uzi because though many bangers call themselves a "soldier", they can't shoot for shit. Automatic weapons improve your odds and they look a lot more bad-assed when you want to impress the local boys.

So the free-market rules when it comes to competing for your drug money. Competition is so fierce on the drug streets. And overseas as well. Drug cartels set up little shadow governments in Columbia back in the eighties and they were prominent enough Tom Clancy wrote a novel featuring them as a national security threat. Of course like all little empires Columbian drug lords ruled their territory through violence. At one time half of Columbia's Supreme Court Justices had been murdered, and killing cops, prosecutors and judges was just plain normal. No sane man would take such work.

But that's the way it is. You have to give something to get something. Your drug money (and your oil money) helps fund the Taleban insurgency. The tens of thousands killed in Chiapas, Mexico during the past couple decades are just the cost of doing business. Fifty thousand dead, pretty close to what America lost in the Vietnam War. Can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. Ever hear of the Zetas? Drug users pay their salaries.

It's like this: If you want to be a responsible drug user, you better make it yourself. You better grow it yourself. Pot growers have been known to booby-trap their fields and kill hikers who wander too close. There is no part of the drug industry that isn't spattered with blood. There is no part of the industry which doesn't teach kids that the way to a brighter future comes from breaking the law rather over hard work and sacrifice. There is no part of the drug industry which isn't founded on broken bodies and spirits. If you put your money into the system, it may be your money which goes to buy the bullet which turns some young mother's brains into goo.

So make it yourself. Grow it yourself. Completely. Or you can never call yourself a responsible drug user.

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