It’s a hard pill to swallow for some people. Which is not entirely difficult to understand considering the massive swaths of money spent every single year on the drug war and anti drug advertising + education. Most evidence seems to show that these tactics are not only ineffective but highly counter productive.
Legalized Heroin has been popping up in a few countries around the world, as far as I know the results have been the same. For the exception of foreigners entering attempting to snag some drugs without fear of prosecution it has been an overall success. The amount of people on heroin drops with this program, the amount of people picking up the substance drops, and the amount of crime related to the use of the substance tanks. It’s obvious as well, there are a few things that are required for a drug to be popular or widely used. Firstly you require a condition in which consumption of the drug is more positive than other activities and secondly you require some form of mass advertising. Now some people might be curious as to what sort of advertisement drugs like Marijuana get that would be making them so popular in places like the US (which has tens of millions of people actively using the substance).
Word of mouth is the name of the game with illegal drugs. A combination of users and anti-drug advertisers, its difficult to not think about drugs in a society that is so blatantly obsessed with them. It doesn’t help that most advertising is sensationalist and highly misinformed, which does nothing to raise confidence about the negative repercussions. The natural response for humans (and I imagine any animal if we could speak to them) when told that they are not allowed to do something without proper information on the reasoning is to try that activity. I’m not entirely sure the reasoning behind it but I’m hardly devoid of the allure.
That said I don’t do (conventional) drugs and it has nothing to do with the morality of it, I am a strong believer that morality is a painfully ambiguous concept that is masqueraded as a reasonable way to lead ones life. If anything in this universe should be shot it would be Morality. That aside I don’t do drugs for the biological reasons, I’m already very weird as is and frankly already have a brain full of thoughts that keeps me going. I am a huge fan of working organs and want to milk every last second I can out of my life.
I say conventional because many people use drugs, if you have downed anything with Sugar in it you are using a highly addictive substance with mind altering properties. Sugar is even related to many terrible terrible diseases, obesity and diabetes being two pretty popular outcomes. If you’ve ever ingested caffeine or taken anything for headaches and the likes. But for whatever unusual reason these things are all ok, yes I realize that Sugar is required in certain doses to survive so save those comments for someone else ;).
There is an unusual assumption that drugs leads to crime, it’s something of a self fulfilling outcome that has to do with the nature of our reaction to drugs. In most cases the substance is legal for quite a while, it gains a sizeable following and begins to impose upon more popular drugs like alcohol and tobacco. A large lobbying project is enacted and the substances are made illegal, now you have a large group of people who went from simply enjoying themselves to being criminals. Likewise instead of getting ‘treated’ when they are caught they are put in jail or fined, they lose their jobs, and in many cases end up losing much more. Nothing that they lose is related to the drug but instead the (very hypocritical) reaction towards the use of the substance.
Even the arguments against illegal drugs is flawed, Marijuana is consistently discussed as the ‘gateway’ drug yet every study I’ve ever read showed that most Marijuana smokers had initially tried Cigarettes and found that Marijuana had better side effects with less noticeable negative side effects (It’s difficult to vomit off a joint but very easy on your first cigarette). Likewise correlating the deaths related to the substance to its harmfulness falls through. The deaths related to illegal substances have to do with the nature of supply and demand with illegal activities, generally the demand is high because of the dark mysterious nature of the item and the supply is low because of the nature of criminal activity which generates HUGE sums of cash (which is lucrative).
The Harrison act was supposedly going to create this fancy new US where there were no drugs and everyone cuddled bears. Well what it did end up doing was (much like prohibition) was create a multitude of crime syndicates, if you are looking for someone to thank for the massive power of gangs and nations like Colombia, look no further than the US’s prohibition on drugs. The amount of money you can make from dealing drugs is preposterous. Legal drug companies know this too and that is why pharmaceuticals are so powerful in the government.
However when you look at Tobacco and Alcohol it is literally a case of the substance being harmful. Which is where the irony comes in, two of the most efficient ways of killing people (or at least causing pretty impressive amounts of biological damage) are the two that are legal. It goes back to the experimental neurosis and the unusual effect this sort of hypocrisy has on the trust and reaction of the people to their government.
There are plenty of dangerous things that people can do that are legal, like sky diving, spanking gorillas, juggling knives, drinking the water in Mexico, saying anything negative about any non-white person, or shooting of fireworks while hammered during the appropriate holiday. While some of these are in jest I find it difficult to argue that most are less dangerous than most (if not all) illegal substances. If you don’t believe me make a video of yourself slapping a gorilla on the ass and live to tell about it.
Most drugs are not shiny nor are they rare, which means that they do not have an intrinsic value. The entirety of their worth comes from the militant nature of our laws against them, likewise the higher their worth the more dangerous activities involving them become. Drugs themselves are not inherently bad, we have to work very hard to make them dangerous and to make them popular.
In a closing thought I find it funny that one of the world’s largest faiths is built off of a story of a man ‘hearing things’ after being near a ‘burning bush’ yet we try to take a morale high ground on drugs. What do you think that bush was?