I am strongly against the use of drugs, for many reasons. People keep asking me to explain, but when I start, my explanation never seems to finish, as the people asking me to explain always seem to feel the need to take a defensive position.
Mind you - I will probably not try to stop you from doing drugs. These are my reasons for choosing not to do drugs
What are drugs?
In theory, everything from alcohol to heroin. In practice (for me), it is every illegal drug. Yes, I know that alcohol is more damaging than, say, weed, but that is not the point. When (not if.. ) weed is legalised (not decriminalised, the way it is in my home country), I will exclude weed from this list as well.
Personally, the only drug I use is Alcohol. I have not taken even a single headache tablet the past five years. The only drugs I have taken have been stuff doctors gave me for second degree burns after pyrotechnics gone wrong and for a badly sprained ankle. This is beside the point; On with the real stuff
Reasons for not doing drugs
Even though many people can handle drugs just fine, some don't. This difference is difficult to spot, but let me try to explain by descibing two fictional cases:
Jean-Claude (17 years old) lives in Birmingham. He is a friendly young man who is engaged in society. He likes to play pool, he likes to take pictures, he loves to play football and has a beautiful girlfriend. Jean-Claude is an expert computer programmer and does well in school. He has many friends, lots of people look up to him (although he might not be aware of that) and smokes marijuana every now and then.
Thormod (17 years old) lives in Birmingham. He smokes marijuana with Jean-Claude.
Do you spot the difference? I believe that there is a significant difference, and very likely to be the core problem when it comes to drug abuse - some people have drugs as part of their lives - a small part. Other people have drugs, and that's it.
Marijuana was just an example. It could also have been a stronger drug, such as cocaine. The point is that whereas Jean-Claude is unlikely to run into major problems with his drug use, Thormod - who doesn't have much other than his drug use - is likely to end up in trouble, because he is more likely to take the drug use to excess, at which point it changes from drug use to drug abuse.
Not to brag – but I believe I am a fairly intelligent and more than averagely adjusted member of society, and I have a lot of things going well for me at the moment. The choice of not doing drugs is, in part, in sympathy with people like Thormod. Perhaps, just perhaps, "Thormod" might be a person in my vicinity, and, just perhaps, he looks up to me. By not smoking, I might send a signal to him, making it more acceptable for him not to smoke (or use other drugs)
Put in another way:
All people have basic needs, and more remote needs. These needs are friendship, love, hobbies etc. Not having any friends generates a “hole”. This hole can be filled with anything, such as reading books, doing math, painting, sleeping or something else. When this something else becomes drugs, this is a symptom of the original problem. The drug abuse, therefore, becomes both a symptom of a problem and a new problem. This is a bad thing.
Currently, the three largest industries in the world are sex (porn and prostitution), weapons and drugs. I am not sure in what order, but I believe that was the correct one.
These three industries, in particular weapons and drugs, are closely related. Because a large percentage of prostitution happens either directly or indirectly because of drugs, prostitution is also an important part of this.
By buying drugs (which in most countries per definition is illegal), I’d effectively shove money into these markets. Because I am strongly against weapons and prostitution, and because these industries are so closely interlinked, spending money on one of the three means injecting money into all three. By buying drugs (especially hard drugs, although soft drugs are also to a certain extent part of this picture), I would support the sex and weapons industries, which I am strongly against
I do realise that this previous argument would disappear if the use of drugs would be legalised. However, I don’t think it should be. It is often claimed that drug abuse is a victimless crime, but I do not agree. I have interviewed several parents who have seen their children dwindle from drug abuse. The child might have a horrible time – but the parents are as much the victims as their children.
Max Havelaar is a famous coffee producer that makes coffee in a fair way – meaning that the people actually making the coffee – the farmers – get their fair share of the final product cost.
The production of drugs and coffee isn’t all that different, although coffee is more accepted in society *grin*. My point is that the people planting and harvesting the poppies, the cannabis sativa plant, and pretty much every other plant that is used in the production of narcotics, they don't get even a fraction of the money the finished product produces.
Buying drugs creates a demand. To fill that demand, the farmers have to make more drugs.
In Columbia, the “choice” of making drugs isn’t a coice for money. Many of the drug farmers would very much prefer making potatoes or corn, so their families would have food. Instead, the mafia show up at the farm with guns (this is, in part, where the weapons industry comes in), and give them a “choice”; Either they plant poppies, or they get shot.
Me not buying drugs, therefore, (although only a drop in the sea) might help a farmer in Columbia (and Afghanistan, if there had been anything left of the country) to plant what they want to, instead of drugs.
Another reason why I am sceptical towards drugs, is the contrast between natural and chemical highs. I do realize that using speed, XTC or whatever else is a strong, probably enjoyable experience. However – and this is important – there is an element of comfort and lazyness going on here;
Have you ever saved money for a long time before you could buy something? Eating beans on toast for a month before you could buy that new bike? Cutting down on the partying so you could afford a decent vacation? The waiting before you once again meet someone you love?
Part of the satisfaction you get when you finally DO get that thing you have been drooling over is because of the waiting.
I believe all highs are basically the same thing. Personally, I love windsurfing. Rushing along the water, in a frenetic battle with the wind, water and the muscles inside me, and then, when everything is right, leaning so far against the wind that you can dip your head in the water if you bend over a little more backwards – THAT is a serious kick of endorphins.
If I could get the same kick from eating a pill – why should I bother doing all that other stuff?
I know, this last point is a fairly weak argument in the grand scheme of things. However, I am afraid that if I found a way of getting the same type of high in a chemical fashion, this would destroy some of the pleasure I would get from windsurfing (and skiing, and sailing, and biking, and driving a car, and making love, etc etc etc).
As I said in the beginning of this write-up – I am not trying to stop people from doing drugs. I am not even trying to prevent anyone. The only thing I am saying, is why I don’t. The choice is yours :)
You are free to disagree, of course. If you decide to post your disagreement here, however, remember that Everything2 is not a BBS and that Domination Techniques are enforced when entering in discussion with yours truly :)