That Is The Question
I have a real problem with people, like Oprah, referring to everything as addictive. Like most words, "addiction" has meaning, as any co-dependent can tell you. Chemical dependancy is no joke. It means your body cannot function without some substance for which it was not designed. Food cannot be called addictive, because we are designed to use it, and normal healthy people need it to stay alive.
Heroin can be called addictive because it is not useful to the body, and is, in fact a poison; like most narcotics, a toxin; hence the term, "intoxicated," or a little dead. The difference between addictive and non-addictive substances is the difference between life and death. People who confuse them are, well, confused.
The writer is wrong to say that heroin is the MOST addictive drug. Barbituates are much worse, easier to overdose on, cross-potent with alcohol, and often fatal to kick. But the worst two drugs of all are nicotine and alcohol. And they're not only legal, but fully supported by most every element of our culture, including the government, even financially.
Everyone knows they can kill you, every corner store sells them openly, and that's perfectly OK with almost everybody. Prohibition never worked with them, in fact it increased alcohol consumption and deaths. But we continue to demonize other, less harmful drugs, creating a whole culture of lawlessness and reckless disregard for personal health, safety and responsibility. Maybe we're "addicted" to authoritarianism. Can you swallow that, Oprah?
Central Nervous System stimulants and depressants like Ice and Crack don't provide any nutrition, but they do effect the chemistry of your nervous system, which can become unbalanced and disrupted by them, requiring ever-higher doses to function at all, though less and less well. Barbituates, amphetamines, opiates and cocaine all act in this way, and truly are addictive. Use them too much, for too long, and you cannot physically get along without them. It ain't like donuts: You can always eat a healthy vege-burger, instead. You don't start convulsing on the floor for lack of Krispy Kremes.
Alcohol actually is a food, though not a very good one. It's pure sugar, of a very high order. But it provides no other nutrients, it's toxic in high doses, and it whacks your liver every time you use it. Moreso than any other drug, your body can become utterly dependent on alcohol, using it as food, albeit very bad food, and losing the ability to digest real, healthy foods. Withdrawal from alcohol is like starvation.
No other drug involves such intense, long-lasting and harmful side-effects: The only theraputic use for LSD ever devised was treatment for alcoholics in withdrawal, suffering delirium tremens. Remember "Lost Weekend"? Bats coming out of the walls? Pretty intense stuff, there. LSD actually helped drunks with DTs. Addiction is serious bizniz, Jim.
Gambling, hyper-sexuality, thrill-seeking, food-binging are not addictions. They are mental, psychological, behavioral problems, not physical dependencies. You can quit them without serious physical symptoms of withdrawal. Nobody ever died after being cut off in Vegas. Nobody needs to detox from Sara Lee.
And sex, well, if you have a problem with getting too much, well, you have a problem. And we all hate you for it. As for you exxxtreme sportsters, by all means, go rock-climbing all by yourself, and chew your arm off after a boulder falls on it, and go right back out there. Just don't call me, or my over-strapped paramedics when another rock falls on you. Your problem is not addiction. It's STUPIDITY.
As to the law, everything should be legal that doesn't directly harm anyone else. Drug addiction is a personal problem, a medical issue, not a legal problem. Stop the phony bullshit "Drug War," which has only increased drugs' attraction and availability. Put the money into treatment, instead. And shutdown Krispy Kreme. Look what they've done to poor old Oprah. Maybe SHE is addicted...
Education, bane of the neocons, is the answer to our drug problem: If people really knew what the various different drugs and lifestyles based on them could do, they'd think twice before getting involved. Or not. Their move.
I blame the law enforcement community for much of the disinformation and miseducation out there. By now, many cops and/ or their friends and families have used drugs. They know your head doesn't explode, your kids don't come out any better or worse (unless Mom uses during pregnancy), and the world doesn't come to an end every time somebody smokes a joint, or shoots up heroin, for that matter. But they go on pretending all this is so. And the kids just tune them out, even when they do, occaisionally, tell the truth, cuz the kids know better, from experience, and they're tired of the lies. And the kids suffer for this.
What kids need to be taught is self- respect, moderation, and the consequences of their actions. If they valued their own lives, and felt like they had a future, they might not throw them away. If they recognized the value of doing "all things in moderation," and living to party another day, they might all live longer. If they were shown exactly what really happens to people without self- respect, who don't practice moderation, they might might choose not to do self- destructive things. Or not. That's freedom for you: Education, and choice.
The problem is, we have this all- or- nothing mentality on this. Either drugs are all totally bad, or all drugs are totally good. If you do them you're a degenerate, if you don't do them, you're just not kewl. If people learned to seek out information, weigh the evidence, consider their own lives as something of worth, and make choices accordingly, there would be far fewer problems. But that doesn't play into partisan polemics.
I think everything should be legal, except for violence against others (and govt. & corp. malfeasance). I think a proper education should include learning about life in the real world, including how to handle tobacco, drugs &amp;amp;amp; alcohol; or not handle them. If education in a democracy doesn't mean learning to make choices, what does it mean? I think that all the money now being wasted on punishing the pleasure principle should be spent on treatment for over- indulgence.
Conservatives seem to think avoidance, ignorance, denial and punishment are the answers to everything. They refuse to see that human beings NEED pleasure: That, if there is a God, He obviously designed us to enjoy being alive, at least sometimes. If conservatives want to start their own country based on denial of all pleasures, let's give them the Moon to build it on. Just, no rockets capable of coming back, or nuking the Earth...
There has always been gay sex, commercial sex, sexy entertainment, physical & mental pleasure- seeking, and get- out- of- your- head- for- a- while activities. There is no sense pretending otherwise, or wasting resources trying to stamp out other people's harmless, to us, pleasures. It's really a sick, perverse, criminal thing to do.
NOTHING short of actual or virtual imprisonment of the entire population will ever stop all these things. So, do we want to live in a giant prison? (Actually, it doesn't even work in PRISON!) Or do we want to enjoy our own lives, and let other people enjoy theirs? Even if that means rolling on the floor in exstasy, at a rave or a revival meeting? (Fuck 'em if they can't dance.)
The real problem is the weird, violent, aggressive, hostile, life-threatening predelictions of the conservatives and their police dogs. It is their habit of busting into people's lives, and killing, injuring, or depriving them of their rights, their property, their freedom and their dignity that is the really dangerous criminal behavior.
I don't give a damn who smokes crack, or who O.D.'s on it. If they need help, let's help them. I do give a damn who kicks in doors and shoots people for using or selling drugs, in the name of the law. I don't want it done in my name any more.
Much of the damage done by drugs is caused by the illegalization of drugs: If all drugs were legal, we could control and regulate them: Prices would be lower, availability and quality would be steady, children and people with a history of drug problems could be more easily denied drugs; treatment would be de- stigmatized, better funded and easier to get into; and no one would be jonesing and tweaking and freaking and robbing and killing for their next fix, or for lack of one, or from too much of one. If all drugs were legal, the remaining problems would be medical, or psychological, not legal.
Any other problems could and should be dealt with by the criminal justice system, just as drunk- driving or common theft and assault are dealt with now. But the drug- motive would no longer be there, so much. Hardly anyone kills for a drink or a smoke, now; no matter how bad they want them. Those that do are punished as murderers, not demonized as "dope- fiends."
Making drugs illegal has simply created a whole new category, and reason for crime, including organized crime (which started in the U.S. with alcohol Prohibition, and grew worse with the "Drug War") and police corruption. Illegalization is a problem that created itself. Let's solve it by eliminating it.
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