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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive » Responsible drug use? Heavens no!

Responsible drug use? Heavens no!

Earth and Fire Erowid have a very generic-sounding pro-drug essay up at Cato Unbound:

Psychoactive drugs are everywhere. Any discussion of drug use needs to take this into account. The broad category of “psychoactive drugs” consists of natural and synthetic substances that alter a person’s thoughts or feelings. There exist hundreds of plants, which, if eaten, smoked, snorted, or injected, will affect the mind—whether acting as a stimulant, depressant, or psychedelic. Thousands of known chemicals will do the same. Used recreationally, medicinally, or for work, some are illegal and others not: They include coffee, wine, and tobacco; prescription pain medications, sleep aids, and antidepressants; as well as cannabis, LSD, and heroin. Psychoactives are in the kitchen, in the hardware store, in the greenhouse, in home medicine cabinets, and in fuel tanks across the country.

Everyone uses them. Would you believe that nearly 90% of 45-year-olds in the United States have tried an illegal drug in their lifetime?[1] As of 2006, more than 35 million Americans had taken an illicit drug in the previous year.[2] Monitoring the Future (MTF), the best current survey about illegal drug use in the United States,[3] reports that one in five college students used an illicit drug in the past month. Nearly all adults in the U.S. have tried alcohol, while over 80% use caffeine daily.[4] Last year there were over 180 million prescriptions written for opiates alone,[5] and a diverse assortment of psychoactives are increasingly used by older Americans from coast to coast.[6]

They are not going away. Humans have used psychoactive substances for as long as we have records[7] and some of the largest corporations in the world are actively developing new ones for the future. There is no magic bullet that will suddenly make these compounds disappear from our society. If there were, the past century of ever-increasing penalties for possession and sale of recreationally used drugs, along with massive anti-drug “education” campaigns, would have reduced use. But they have not.

I have no argument with it, and it seems to be the sort of writing that can sway those who would normally be (publicly) opposed to drug delegislation. The Cato backing gives legitimacy to the cause, but not many people know what Cato is/stands for. The fact that the authors use goofy pseudonymes detracts from it a bit. And there is no real ‘warm up’ at the beginning; if you’re not prepared to hear the arguments (or aren’t familiar with them in a positive light) they become dubious statistics.

If I didn’t like my job, I’d forward this around the office. I can’t recall the last time I took an illegal drug and don’t feel the need to; my concern lays with that when I choose to, I can. I may or may not be cultivating Phalaris.

I am going to forward it to my entire extended family, though. Even the Jebus-kooks (I still love them!).

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