First off, some clarification. The term “toxicological purest” is a reference to anyone that has not ever used any drugs or other intoxicants. I could not think of any simple term to describe such a person, so I went with that.
When it comes to the origins of this piece, there is one that is fairly obvious (Gene Simmons’s reaction to the death of Prince). Though that was indeed part of it, there is more.
For one, I have a smart anti-intoxicant person in my life (I sense roots in Nietzschian philosophy in this case). And of course there is the anti- drug crowd. People that either swallowed the state propaganda blindly, or just had a bad anecdotal experience that clouded their view of the whole topic. Including people that fall victim to experts like Dr Drew (and ilk like him).
Uh . . . such an arrogant and condescending jerk off that
guy is. Though most of the docters on TV annoy me in various ways, none quite make me want to throw my TV out the window quite like Dr Drew does.
Him and his (seemingly) substandard rehab technique that has no less than 5 suicides associated with it. Unconfirmed associations (for the sake of honesty in reporting).
Though it annoys me that people still listen to tv quacks like Dr Oz, I do not despise him/them. Since as far as I know, there is no blood on his/their hands. Breach of the trust of his/their loyal viewers, yes.
But blood? No.
I will finish that rant, by allowing comedian Doug Stanhope to finish it for me.
Before moving on, I will acknowledge some forced exploration I have had on the topic of drugs over the years. I have always held a strong opinion on the subject. It has just, done a 180 to what it once was.
I have always been a sheltered child (and person really). Back in my teens I didn’t get out all that much. Unfortunately, this meant that I took school lessons about drugs quite seriously. For a long time, I thought that all drugs were bad, and that all people that did drugs were bad people.
Its an asinine view now, but back then, it made sense. The people that I knew to be drug users fit the profile.
But I needn’t have worried. Since life would later bring a long awaited bitch slap to my perceived reality.
That would occur after I learned that a couple of close friends of mine enjoyed toking some reefer regularly. It was one of those situations that you are not quite sure how to comprehend, since my stark and contrasting rules governing drugs and those that do them . . . did not apply.
Fortunately, it would lead first to a relaxation on my harsh judgement of what it was to be a druggy. Not exactly acceptance persay. But I acknowledged that usage of drugs (or at least marijuana) did not automatically render a person bad.
Full on acceptance would come from first hand experience. Which would happen after I moved out into my first apartment (with roommates). Though it only lasted about 6 months (if that), it was invaluable experience. Got to try out alcohol and marijuana for the first time. Also Salvia, by accident, in my very first hoot lol. Whether or not it had an affect, I have no idea. Im not even sure if the stuff is even still legal, truth be told (back then, the paraphernalia shops carried it).
Even if not, its still apparently available at the seed store and the supermarket garden center.
To think that I once told a relative (at age16 or 17) that I would not ever touch drugs, even alcohol. Its funny what accessibility can do to ones ethics.
Much like how I was once staunchly against music downloading. That was, until my house became DSL enabled and I discovered Limewire.
But yes, I once counted myself in the anti-drug category. Fortunately however, reality threw some nuance into my perceptions. Which would spur on a bout of curiosity. Which led to a fair amount of research online. And ending in, the final product.
I do not see much harm in partaking in soft drugs (marijuana, mushrooms). We already have a ready made distribution system in the one utilized for alcohol and tobacco (age verification required).
Considerations have to be made (at the personal level) for potential mental instabilities caused by any hallucinogenic substance. Though this is at times used as a tenant for the current status quo (illegal), its not a very good one.
Drugs and hallucinogens are not seen as being healthy for developing minds (children and teens). The current status quo on most such substances makes it incredibly easy for children and teens to get this stuff. Drug dealers do not check ID, or care about anything besides making a profit. You can say the same of legal drug venders to, but there is one key difference. A legal drug vender that is caught selling to a minor will face a steep fine (at least in Manitoba). Having worked in a convenience store and seen pretty much all my co-workers get nailed by fines of 5 grand (with the store sometimes coughing up twice that!), its a very good deterrent.
I was a stickler for ID, at times causing customer backlash, even an annoyed reaction of a co-worker. But the joke was on them, being that I never got fined in the 5 years in the position.
But, digression aside, measures are in place under law to protect children from legal substances. But they do not apply to illegal substances.
As for adults of legal age using the hallucinogenic drugs (no matter how they acquire them) and accidentally triggering latent or preexisting mental conditions, there is not a whole lot one can do. Being the relative rarity of such occurrences, its hardly a justification for absolute prohibition.
What could possibly help is awareness campaigns that encourage people to be knowledgeable of their families mental history. In the same way that safe sex campaigns help alleviate unwanted pregnancy and STI transmission, safe drug use campaigns could help steer people to more informed decisions. People will do what they want, but no law or precaution will 100% prevent that.
When it comes to harder drugs, I have not really come to a definitive conclusion.
I used to say that the resources freed up from chasing down ubiquitous marijuana could be better used on fighting the more dangerous substances like Heroin, Crack or Methamphetamine (and other derived cousins in this family). But further consideration has highlighted problems.
First, is the issue of, rinse and repeat. Using the same expensive and inefficient tactics, which will likely result in similar outcomes (not even making a dent). Not to mention that this does nothing to stop the inhumane impact of the current status quo. Legalized marijuana gets rid of a huge amount of unfair and ultimately illogical punishments (often concentrated towards minorities) , but leaving harder drugs illegal still throws addicts under the bus. Makes it seem reasonable to throw people that could benefit from rehabilitation, into the prison system.
Second, I have to take into consideration a persons free will. People should have the freedom to do what they want (in the context of their own body). So long as it does not threaten anyone else (such as driving under the influence).
People set their sights on eradicating the hardest of drugs for arguably, the right reasons. They wreck havoc on individuals, families, communities. But this view overlooks substances on the legal side of the spectrum. Things like alcohol, nicotine, and pharmaceuticals (some of which are far more powerful and addicting than any illegal substance). No one (or at least, few) is/are calling for the prohibition of these things.
And rightfully so.
Because we already know what will happen if you simply prohibit a substance without dealing with its addicts. Where there is a market, someone will fill it. Whether its Al Capone, Pablo Escobar or El Chapo.
Over all, its a matter of choice. If people are going to be making the choice to chase down a substance anyway, a simple prohibition will not work. As is evidenced by the failure of alcohol prohibition, and the 50 year long failed war on drugs.
Now, is legalization of every substance across the board the answer?
I am hesitant to say yes. In a dichotomy, the polar opposite is rarely the best response to a situation. That said however, Portugal seems to have had good luck in reducing their number of addicts by legalizing substances across the board (in combination with enriching treatment facilities).
I don’t know where the best answer lies. I suppose that the best that everyone can do is learn from each others policies (nations). Indeed . . . good luck getting the arrogant United States to heed that advice!
Which leads into another separate, yet related topic. Treatment centres, and addiction treatment in general.
Though I am not sure I would go as far as saying that there is no such thing as addiction (as hypothesized by Doug Stanhope in the bit linked previous), I do agree with the criticism of the rehabilitation process. Processes that often attempt to brainwash a person away from addiction, by way of religion. Even if which one exactly remains undefined, there lies a problem with forcing ALL recovering addicts to accept a higher power. Forcing all to accept that they are weaker than a much stronger and omnipotent force that is beyond all reason.
Some may sing praises of the process, having experienced its benefits (or having observed the benefits in others). But though there are success stories, there are MANY failures. Which isn’t really surprising, being that a sure way to ensure relapse is to convince a person of their weakness. Or more aptly, to ensure that a persons guilt will be their worst enemy.
But most of all, the issue I have with AA type programs, is the shoehorning of religion into someones life when they are most vulnerable to it. At a time when they are least equipped to fight conversion with internal intellect, this dogma swoops in and makes itself at home.
Atheists often look down upon childhood indoctrination. And for good reason.
In all honesty, I think that pushing this dogma during a painful (and potentially fatal) period of a persons life, is almost as bad. Possibly worse, when one factors in that in most areas, no alternatives to AA exist. People could be dying unnecessarily due to an over reliance on a flawed concept.
Speaking of alternatives to AA, the Ra Man podcast did a segment with a fellow who presented an atheist alternative to AA. And it (apparently) has had a much higher turnout rate than that of typical AA programs. Also mentioned in the program, is how Alcoholics Anonymous is actively attempting to block alternatives.
“Wait . . .what?!”
I know . . .
Thus concludes (more or less) how I ended up getting to where I stand on the issue of drugs today. And treatment (a subtopic that I have never explored before). But the point of this piece was not as much exploration as it was criticism.
When it comes to those that form a sense of arrogance due to their chemical virginity (purity?), they seem to fall into 2 categories. One I will call the anti-intoxicants. And the other, the anti-drugs.
Those that are anti-intoxicant have enough formal education into areas of human behavior (such as psychology) to form a valid contradictory opinion on the subject.
Anti-drug people on the other hand, often parrot and repeat propaganda taught in school, or elsewhere. Though one does not need drug experience to form a valid opinion, they must have looked deeper into the subject than, well, I did when I was younger.
Gene Simmons, I would put in the anti-drug category. This article written by his son Nick (a good piece. It isn’t what you think) seems to confirm my choice. Though he has a philosophy and life experience in a drug soaked world, he still lacks any intellectual tact. Though we knew that already due to the Prince comments.
Having said all of that, no matter why you chose not to partake in drugs, this is not an edge up on anyone else.
You can take pride in it, view it as an achievement (you fought, and triumphed, over peer pressure). You can extol the virtues you find in sobriety. You can argue against the notion that one is missing out on a life experience by not partaking in substances. And you can even disagree with the common belief that states drug use (particularly hallucinogen use) stimulates creativity.
But if you think that your status as a drug virgin makes you somehow better than the rest of us, let me be the one to grab you off that high tower and smack you in the face.
Because your not.