Drugs! Drugs! Drugs! Whose Choice? Who's Right? Who Knows? - Part 1

What Do YOU Think? Wine, women and song! Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll - little has changed since Roman times, except perhaps the terminology (and maybe the volume of the music). Some aspects of all three may be a little unhealthy at times, possible ear damage from overly loud music, or maybe the wife. However, even on the matrimonial battlefield, one would hope you're not likely to get too badly hurt. As for the drugs, well, everybody takes drugs don't they? Yes? No? Possibly? Well, it all depends on how you look at it. When we use the word 'drugs', what actually does spring to mind? What do YOU think constitutes a drug? Many people have opinions, but what actually is the truth? Well, in basic terms, a drug is a substance that can affect one's body or being, either physically or mentally. That means that apart from the prescribed medical substances and obvious illegal ones, socially acceptable drugs, such as nicotine and alcohol, also include things like caffeine and certain 'e' numbers. Yes, that's why the kids run up the wall when they've had a fizzy drink or certain sweets, because they're high on drugs. Is that allowed? Well, apparently yes, that's fine!

Want To Be Your Mum: Society has a very strange and mixed up outlook on some things, and drugs, in my opinion, currently, is one of them. A little while ago, you could walk into a pub and choose not to drink alcohol. However, you couldn't choose not to smoke, as the air was full of it. You therefore had no choice but to breathe in the addictive, poisonous and carcinogenic fumes. Even after Roy Castle died (1994), for many years this was still quite acceptable and considered normal and presumably quite healthy to be poisoned against your will. If you were a smoker, you could sit there over a pint or two and smoke cigarette after cigarette after cigarette, forcing people to smoke with you and perhaps contributing to their ills, and maybe even their death. However, if you walked into the same pub and snorted a line of cocaine, or took a tab of acid, or an ecstasy pill with your orange juice, you could be arrested and locked up! Presumably for consenting to poison yourself against the will of others! However, unlike the smoking, you were not forcing anyone else to join in, and whatever it happened to be, you were not forcing it up anyone else's nose, or down their throat. So, where exactly is the problem? And why does society suddenly want to be your mum?

Horrendous Problems: In fact we know full well that some drugs cause horrendous problems, both for the individual and for society in general. The likes of heroin, crack-cocaine and crystal meth should never be entertained by an individual to begin with, and the fact that people still fall victim to these shows we have still not got it right. However, the illegality of these substances, just as with alcohol prohibition, has not stopped people getting them, or taking them. Telling people not to do something just makes them go the opposite way sometimes. Couple that with the fog that surrounds the whole issue, the lack of understanding, education and drug discrimination, and the whole thing has become a bit of a mess. Along with this, some people have become victim for a different reason. They have been criminalised and violated for doing no more than exercising their personal choice. Criminalised and violated because they have chosen to experience certain drugs other than those currently legitimised by society and yet which are not actually as problematic.

Like To Explore: The simple fact is that people like to party and have fun; they also like to experience and explore. Life would indeed be rather dull and stunted if we didn't. Certain naturally occurring substances have been a part of this ever since our time began. For instance, for eons, people around the world have been taking indigenous hallucinogenic substances as part of their coming-of-age rituals and for communicating with the spirits! What? You don't believe it? Have you ever tried it? You may be very surprised! Well, whatever the case, the fundamental issue is - should a person have the right to make up their own mind and choose for them self as to what they do, and what they don't - or should they not? By the way, did you know that apparently salt kills 40,000 people a year in the U.K. alone? Over 20 times more than ALL the illegal drugs put together, and yet it is not a controlled substance!

Most Menacing! Two of the most dangerous drugs (alcohol and tobacco), one of which is the most menacing and one of which can be the most addictive over and above heroin, are sold freely at the corner shop. More people die annually from each of the legitimised drugs, alcohol and tobacco, than ALL illegal drugs put together. Since the seventies, America alone has spent two trillion dollars on the war on drugs, and you can STILL find cocaine on any high street. Hundreds of people die daily in the war on drugs because some people want them and some people don't want them to have them. The fact is, when you start telling people what they can and can't do, and back it up with force, you'd better be damn sure you've got it right, else you can make a right mess of things! Humm!! Yes indeed! Still, at least we don't burn people at the stake anymore for having a different belief, however, you can still have your freedom taken away, but then, in some areas, it seems we never had it in the first place.

That Important! Personally I think freewill is important - very important. In fact, there is nothing more important to evolved life than the ability and freedom to be able to reason and make up your own mind. It is what sets us aside from the animals. Nature could have programmed everybody to behave a certain way automatically, but no, we were given freewill and freedom of choice. Society sometimes pays a big price for this because it allows some to abuse others. We have seen many examples of this over the years, from minor abuse to major genocide, and yet, I'm sure most would agree, despite everything that we have been through as a race, we would still rather have our freewill, our ability to think and our ability to choose for ourselves. It is that important! However, it is also important for society to take action when innocent people are being abused by others and need protection, but in this instance, we are not talking about that. We are talking about consenting adults, matters which only affect the individual, and personal lifestyle choice. Therefore, who is the real villain here? The person that supposedly abuses them self with things that are generally less problematic than alcohol or tobacco, or the person that persecutes them and beats them with a big stick for exercising the right and the privilege that God gave them?
Crosstalk by Taz: June 2013

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