In reality, a "drug" is any substance that alters the
normal workings of the mind and/or body. This includes things that a lot of
people take more or less for granted. Caffeine is a "drug". So are nicotine,
alcohol and aspirin. Even chocolate contains enzymes that could rightly be
considered as being "drugs". But, what I want to expound upon here are what are
commonly referred to as "narcotics", "illegal drugs", "illicit substances", or
"dope". In other words, "Drugs" (with a capital "D").
Taking a stand
against the use of Drugs inevitably brings one up against the question of
infringing on personal freedoms. Those who seek to legalize Drug use make the
claim that it is a victimless crime and that people should be allowed to do
whatever they please in private. On the surface, this would seem to be a valid
argument. However, one must look deeper to get to the heart of the matter.
The fallacy in that
argument is in the assumption that Drug use is always private. In reality, that
is just not the case. Even if one gets stoned in the privacy of his own home,
there is no guarantee that he will not decide to leave the home and go out in
public while still stoned. There is also no guarantee that he will not operate
a vehicle in that condition or do something else where his judgment may be
sufficiently impaired so as to represent a great hazard to innocent people. The
laws against Drug use, therefore, are not designed to protect the user from
himself, but rather to protect others from the potentially serious consequences
of his Drug use.
As far as the
argument about Drug use being a "victimless crime" goes, the user certainly has
the great potential to leave victims in his wake. But, even more than that,
Drug use does not begin and end with getting stoned. A great many Drug users
are not productive members of society and do not have the income necessary to
support their habit. They must commit all make and manner of crimes in order to
get the money they need for their next hit. Again, while the actual use of Drugs
may be "victimless", the side-effects of that use certainly are not.
Let's assume for a
moment that Drug use was, in fact, a totally private issue and did not represent
any significant risk to the public. What good is derived from the use of Drugs
and how does that compare to the detrimental effects? I doubt you could find a
single successful and long-lived person on the face of the Earth who could truly
say that their success and long life are directly attributable to their having
used Drugs. So, what good does Drug use do? At best, a temporary escape from
whatever one's problems are or just a way to "get high". That's about it. But,
at what cost? Is it worth it? I can't see how it could be.
Ok, the pro-Drug
argument continues, then why not outlaw alcohol and tobacco use, as well?
Besides the fact that we tried outlawing alcohol at one time, the problem here
is that those two drugs are too deeply ingrained in human (not just American)
culture to be totally removed. I have little doubt that if they were two brand
new products, however, that the FDA *would* issue a ban on them. That pro-Drug
argument has one other hole, however, and that is in the implicit assumption
that "drugs" and "Drugs" are equal in their effects. That is certainly not the
case. You're highly unlikely to see a nicotine addict mugging someone to get
the money for his next pack of unfiltered Camels.
Nancy Reagan's "Just
Say No" campaign may have sounded corny, but the message was a sound one. It's
too easy to get high on life. You don't need Drugs for that.
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