Drugs! Drugs! Drugs! Whose Choice? Who's Right? Who Knows? - Part 3

Persecuted By Society. Many people have strong opinions about drugs, however, this is one topic where people can easily be misled and misinformed. Actually, when put on the spot, even though opinionated, people often turn out to know very little other than perhaps what they have been told or led to believe. In the same way, many people who have such strong opinions do not even realise that both nicotine and alcohol are drugs. This is because they are both common everyday components legitimised by society and therefore somehow people do not think of them as 'drugs'. They think 'drugs' are just everything that is illegal. Drugs are a problematic and controversial area and many people still fall victim to the way society understands and manages the whole subject. Either because they get sucked in to the tunnel of hard drugs, or because they are persecuted by society for holding a different belief or lifestyle choice.

The Garden Path. A long time ago I made it a personal policy of mine not to try and comment or open my mouth about anything I had no experience of. However, there are many people in this world who feel the need to be strongly opinionated, even if they know little of what they are talking about. For this reason, I always like to check a person's credentials before I know whether to take them seriously or not. I like to know they have some knowledge of experience upon which to base their views. I also like to know that their view is not bigoted, morally tainted, or corrupt. The reason being that this is a big part of where things go badly wrong, both in society, and in the world at large. People get told all sorts of things, and sometimes, even though it may be seriously wrong, they actually believe it is right. This is how Germany got sucked into the last world war and why people kill for a cause. This is why people commit genocide and why others have believed the Earth is flat, at the centre of the solar system, or was made in seven days. It is why some believe you won't go to heaven if you're not a Jehovah's Witness and others believe that blowing innocent people to bits entitles you to God's favour and a harem of virgins in heaven. We can all be led up the garden path at times and we can all be suckered. It is up to us to try and work out what is right. It is always wise to question, although it is not always wise to presume to know better. However, if you think someone is leading you the wrong way, you can always say no. Of course, non-conformity can sometimes leave you open to being shot or locked up. However, this is the price that we have to pay as a race, painful process that it may be, to reach maturity and get it right! Growing pains on a planetary scale!

Trap. Some people think that smoking cannabis will inevitably mean you'll move onto harder drugs and become a heroin addict. However, that is a bit like saying if you drink beer you will move on to become an alcoholic, drinking a bottle of spirits a day. It could be the case, but, as most beer drinkers and cannabis smokers know, it is certainly not par for the course. However, this 'one thing automatically leads onto another', is a viewpoint commonly held by many in society. Reason? Because many heroin addicts did start out by smoking cannabis. They were often mixing in circles where other things were doing the rounds and they often did not know any better. They often tried cannabis and realised it wasn't that bad, and may have then felt, or even been led to believe, with the lack of drug education and discrimination in society (where all things are lumped into the same 'drug' category), that perhaps heroin wasn't that bad either. Trap! It is also true to say that, unbelievably, in many places heroin is more available than cannabis resin. Not a desirable situation. Unscrupulous dealers may then persuade unknowing young people to give heroin a try by saying 'I haven't got any of that at the moment, but I have got some of this. Why not give it a try?' Again, trap!

A Reliable Place. Most people think that heroin addiction is about getting high, and maybe in the early days, it is. However, for long term addicts it is not a case of taking the drug to get high, because you can never recapture those initial experiences. It is a case of taking the drug to feel normal and not to become ill. That's what happens as your body chemistry changes. This being the case, if I were unfortunate enough to be a heroin addict, one thing is for sure, I would appreciate being able to get my fix from a reliable place where it cost very little and where I knew I could rely on its consistency, i.e. it would be a regular and controlled strength and would not be contaminated with brick dust or crushed dog biscuit. I would appreciate not having to steal in order to get what I needed just to feel normal and not to feel ill. Plus, if it were reliable, there would be no chance of me dying from an inconsistent, contaminated drug. I wouldn't end up in court with a criminal record for shop lifting and my friends and family wouldn't find that I had stolen from them in my craving hour. I would be less likely to end up with HIV or hepatitis and I would not live a life of perpetually fretting, wondering as to how and when I could next get what I need.

Makes Problem Worse. If I were a lady, or a young lad, I would not have to consider degrading and prostituting myself, just to feel better, in my hour of need. If I could get what I needed officially and legitimately, I would still have a problem, but my problem would be fractional compared to that which it is at the moment. Plus my problem would not become the problem of others, as I tried to find the funding to feed my craving. I could sensibly manage my addiction, would have more self respect and would have the time to try and work at getting off the drug. However, if I couldn't get off the drug, I would not be leaving a trail of mayhem and misery for others in my wake. If I were a heroin addict, I would wish I wasn't, because that is always the way. I would feel that society could have given me what I needed before I became an addict - it could have shown me the truth, but it didn't. It let me down badly. Now that I am an addict, society makes my problem worse, by not allowing me what I need to relieve my sickness and my pain. I am driven to desperate measures to obtain an expensive and unreliable product that could result in my death because of its inconsistency. It is a living hell, not just for me but for those around me, because they also become affected by my actions. My heroin addiction is an illness, a sickness, and should be treated as such, just like any other illness in society.

The Truth. Society could stop others that may be tempted by simply showing them the truth - before they take the first step! Because, just as with smoking tobacco, the only way to completely avoid the trap is not to go there in the first place. Heroin crushes your spirit in its shell. If I were a heroin addict I would feel, as all addicts do, that if I had actually known what it does to a person, I would not have gone near it. If I were a heroin addict, it would be too late for me, however, it is not be too late for others that may be tempted. We must not deny our children a proper education in life - whatever the issue. We must show them the truth. Knowing the truth enables people to be able to protect themselves. Just as with crossing the road, if you can see something coming, you can avoid it. Likewise, if you can recognise a trap, you can avoid falling into it.

Under The Carpet. Heroin causes considerable problems in society for both addicts and innocent members of the public alike. We all pay. The petty crime it creates through addicts trying to appease their sickness puts a considerable and unnecessary strain on police, judicial, and prison system resources and costs us all a lot of money. Shop lifting, burglaries, vehicle break ins, petty theft of bicycles, cash, wallets, handbags, anything that is not nailed down, even from family members and friends. It is not just addicts that suffer when they can't get what they need. We all do. Yes, drugs are a problem, but most of the problem is caused by the way we currently manage, or rather mismanage them. Over these last three articles we have only just scratched the surface of a massive undertaking. Although, if we are ever to solve such problems for people - all people, we must recognise, understand, acknowledge, face up to, and deal with the truth and people's requirements! We must not continue in blind ignorance, and as politicians do, to ignore, run away, 'bury head' and sweep it under the carpet! For all our sakes it is time for a change of heart and a change of policy. It will not go away!
Crosstalk by Taz: August 2013