Drugs! Drugs! Drugs! Whose Choice? Who's Right? Who Knows? - Part 2

Not Important Enough. Mind altering substances, in one form or another, have always been around in society and similarly have always been around the music scene. At times, as we know, this has tragically led to the early demise of some very notable musicians, as well as many others amongst us. There are many reasons as to why people can die from drugs, illegal or otherwise, however, one of the most obvious is overdosing and / or mixing drugs with other drugs, such as alcohol. With heroin, for example, death can easily occur as a result of the illegal street drug being inconsistent or contaminated due to the lack of quality control. If you are injecting anything into your body, it's fair to say the quality and consistency of the product is somewhat paramount. With all such drugs, illegal or otherwise, there is actually no danger of death and less danger of damage if there is proper quality control over them and if they are used properly within guidelines. However, this is currently something that society does not feel is important enough to act upon on behalf of the heroin addict, or any other illegal drug user.

Complete And Utter Mess! Nobody wants to be an addict and there are definitely some drugs out there that should be avoided at all costs (in fact, tobacco, i.e. nicotine, is one of them). Unfortunately, as far as drugs go there is currently not enough understanding, education or discrimination, and not enough respect for human psychology or individual freedom of choice. There is also far too much hypocrisy, be it in ignorance or otherwise. On each of these one could write a book, but lump them all together and the result is a complete and utter mess. Even so, with all the problems combined, illegal drug deaths in the UK only average between 1,500 and 2,000 a year. This is a microscopic number compared to those that die from salt (40,000), tobacco (100,000) and alcohol (8,000). The tragedy is that drugs often tend to affect young people who know (or have been shown) no better. However, with proper drug education and management, drug death from the currently illegal drugs could be virtually eliminated. I also personally believe that drug related crime could all but be eliminated and ultimately serious addiction likewise.

A Fascist Dictator. The simple fact is that no one really wants to be a drug slave! Ask anyone who's been there, for example, any tobacco smoker. Most people, if they are honest, will tell you they would rather not be doing it, however, that, as we know, is the nature of addiction. The problem at the moment is that people do not appreciate this fact until it's too late. This could change with proper education, because the best way to avoid addiction is not to go there in the first place and the best way to avoid that, is to show people the truth. However, when we fail to do this and heroin is more available on the streets than cannabis resin, it is obvious society's current tack is not working. Being a fascist dictator, especially when people can see you've got so much of it wrong, is not very popular. But then understanding human psychology can perhaps prevail where the law cannot. If you tell someone not to do something, sometimes they will do the opposite, especially if they don't believe in what you are saying. On the other hand, if you try and persuade them to do something that they know will harm them, they will think you are mad and tell you where to go. Understanding these two elements of human nature and working with them, as well as addressing the other factors, could completely change everything - virtually overnight!

Make It Far Worse! We must view heroin addiction as an illness or disease that can be caught, just like any other disease. The circumstances are indeed very similar in as much as a victim will come into contact with the disease in one form or another and so become contaminated themselves. Once a person has become contaminated, or contracted the disease, they will need a supply of the drug just to feel right and not be ill. The need for this drug, once on it, is so great that an addict will shoplift or steal from their nearest and dearest, and even prostitute themselves, just to get the money to feel better again. If it were any other disease, they would be treated on the national health. Yes, society does to an extent warn people about sexually transmitted diseases, however, if somebody catches gonorrhoea, society doesn't quite turn its back on them in the same way that it does for somebody that catches the heroin habit. Heroin addicts are victims of a badly managed situation. Heroin is one of the drugs that gives all drugs a bad name. However, it has been shown that if an addict can get a decent quality drug, and doesn't have to commit crime to get it, they can be an addict for years and still cope very adequately and efficiently, both with work and home life, more so than alcoholics and some other drug users. Even though heroin is seriously bad for you, it is the contaminants in street heroin and the lack of quality control which seriously compound the problems and make it far worse.

Positive Things. Although no one likes to be addicted, the will to give up has to come from deep within. Such strength and determination may take years to muster and it may take many attempts before one can achieve what is needed. Some never do. In the meantime, simply giving an addict what they need to feel well and normal would achieve a number of positive things. It would ensure that they get a proper quality controlled consistent product, thereby reducing the risk of damage and death through drug irregularity, overdose, or contamination. It would also ensure that an addict didn't have to commit crime in order to get their medicine, thereby saving police, judicial system and prison resources. Likewise, it would also save shops and ordinary people from falling victim to such drug related crime. It would also help to eradicate the unscrupulous criminal supply chain and heroin related drug gang turf war and criminal funding. It would also remove the need for victims to prostitute themselves to fund their requirement.

At More Risk. The fact that society does not adequately meet people's requirements and does not take responsibility for properly controlling, or properly quality controlling, its so called controlled substances, actually puts people at more risk than they otherwise would be. Drug users from increased risk of death and damage through inconsistent product. Ordinary members of society from increased risk of becoming a victim of drug related crime. Social drug users from unwarranted persecution by the authorities. The young and unknowing from becoming a victim of the more dangerous drugs, and of course, their families. It's not just cocaine users that pay through the nose, we all do at present. Drug problems apparently cost the U.K. taxpayer some £16 billion a year, and for what? That's a lot of money each year to get precisely nowhere, except that is, to make matters worse! Think what else we could do with that kind of money at the moment! We need to wake up and wise up.

Little Sympathy. Where drugs are concerned, society is badly failing people in all areas. We are selfish, ignorant, irresponsible and brutal, almost on a par with the Nazis! I personally find it sickening to see people being persecuted and hounded by anyone, in uniform or otherwise, simply because they are different, have a different belief, or choose a different lifestyle. I find it equally sickening that we don't implement more protection for our children through education, or that when our children fall victim, we let them suffer and rot with no sympathy. But then our government has little sympathy for people who become addicted it seems. This is very apparent in the way they have hiked the price of cigarettes to a ridiculous and unrealistic level, behaving no better than smack dealers at the school gates in their exploitation of the nicotine addiction. This is not helpful to people and means that children, in hard pressed families, whose parents are unfortunately hooked, will often go without even more in life because the government is excessively bleeding people until there is nothing left, exploiting the addictive strength of nicotine.

Not Very Responsible. Yes, we know people can give it up, but, for most serious smokers, as many of us will know, it's simply not that easy! Luckily, however, there are more aids available nowadays. Even so, nicotine is a tremendously addictive drug and a person will not be able to give it up until they are absolutely ready. The same can be said for heroin. In the time it takes to muster the will and be ready to give it up, life could be easier, better and safer for everyone, addicts and general public alike, if addicts were simply given the drug they need in the same way that others who become ill in society can get the drugs they need. No one wants to become an addict. People don't realise the truth because society doesn't show them the truth. We allow the vulnerable to fall into the trap and then leave them in a hopeless situation scratching about, trying to cope with the horrendous experience they encounter. For a society that thinks it has the right to play God in such areas, that is not very responsible and not very fair!
Crosstalk by Taz: July 2013

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