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Substance Abuse and Society IIEdit
Substance Abuse and Society II
Table of Contents Edit
Chapter I - Drugs - What are they?
Chapter II - Who uses Drugs and why?
Chapter III - The Drugs Themselves - A nonscientific system of classification.
Chapter IV - Race, Religion, Culture and Drugs
Chapter V - Legalization - Does making drugs illegal help?
Chapter VI - Dealers and Enablers, the People behind Drug useEdit
The Dealer The drug dealer is the most important person in the world of the drug dependent person or addict. The illegality of most street and recreational drugs makes them expensive and hard to find. The threat of arrest and a lengthy jail stay further selects for a particularly tough and “cool” individual. However, money flows freely for the dealer while demand is high and supply is limited, and other equally tough hombres are called forth to challenge the dealer for their turf before too long. The attrition is devastating, much greater than that among users. The rate of recovery and To the Top to normal society and ordinary lives is probably lower than in any other form of criminal enterprise. The dealer is hated by all the fathers of all the daughters that ever submitted to sexual advances under the influence of drugs, or lost their childhood in a crack house or party house. Even in the drug dealer’s own home, they are resented by their family as Mom or Mom and Dad try to make ends meet, and see their children through the mandatory twelve years of schooling as required by law. The drug dealer may intercept that process at any time by getting their siblings high, by "turning them on." For once it is known that a child is using drugs, it is more than likely that the school authorities will find a cause to expel them, and despite the best efforts of the parents to find another school for their offspring, rumor and reputation will follow fast on their heels, and they will soon discover that their youngster will not be accepted by another school district. Their child has, however unjustly, earned the unhappy title of “dropout,” or “druggie dropout.”
Where does the drug dealer come from? Even children from impoverished backgrounds know the love of a mother. What circumstances could turn a youngster to such a wicked and destructive pursuit? Almost every dealer is also a user, and certainly must have taken their first steps in the world of illegal drugs as a user. Thus, we must consider each and every dealer to be a dealer/user. Drug using and dealing is sometimes born of ignorance and the natural process of growing and gaining privacy. Most children turn away from their parents and towards their peer groups before the onset of puberty, or sexual maturation. This is a natural process, encouraged by society, and described in scientific writings by Sigmund Freud, ma... among others. The infantile oral fixation on the mother gives way to a childlike love or infatuation for the parent of the opposite sex, and then, when that is discouraged for social and cultural reasons as “incestuous,” the child turns to its peers for emotional and sexual gratification. At this time the child may demand privacy from its parents, and turn secretive, as if all the attention given them by the parent is tainted by sexuality. It is a tremendous opportunity for older and more experienced boys and girls to take control of the child’s life. At that time, they may introduce the emotionally confused youngster to marijuana and other drugs. The drug dealer, without a legitimate occupation, and easily making money by a relatively few high profit sales, can pay attention to the child like no one else. Astute users may become dealer themselves, "doing unto others what was done unto them," all the while financing their drug habits and "dealer lifestyles." The drug dealer plays surrogate parent to those entering the drug world, taking the place of the parent rejected for reasons of "incest." This process may repeat itself again and again, anywhere and anytime, with "fathers" and "mothers" changing off in rapid succession. The age or relative age of the participants is unimportant. Sixteen year-olds may "father" twelve-year olds into the drug business, or thirty-year olds may "mother" sixteen-year olds. There may even be instances where younger partners parent those who may be chronologically older. Very little is impossible in the world of the psyche. Ultimately, the drug-using youngsters become old and experienced enough to begin their own career of "parenting." But whether a "child" or "parent," always the measure of growth and maturity is based upon the obtaining of skill and mastery at using and distributing various illegal substances.
Ageist bias, born of a fast-moving, youth-oriented culture, encourages or aggravates the process. Even though youngsters may be warned of the dangers of drug use, as well as the difficulty of surviving a drug user’s or dealer’s life for long, they look to the old, and decide that aging and getting old is not for them. The drug dealer’s life is fast, and usually punctuated by a fancy car and much socializing. These form an impression on youthful minds that is not easy to counteract through the traditional community support groups of Churches, clubs, Boy Scouting and Brownie troops. The rewards of the straight world are simply not enough to excite those young people who are attracted by the glitter and glamour of the drug dealer, whether in the inner cities of the Snowbelt Cities of the North, or the scattered abodes of the rural Southern countryfolk. The dealer understands this, and is a master at manipulating the icons, images and objects of the drug culture to his advantage. Rap music, fancy clothes, fast and flashy cars, all are paraded in front of susceptible youths, the dealer’s "targets." The drug dealer may act as an oppressor, as well, terrorizing and intimidating the building or neighborhood, while encouraging susceptible youth to identify with them, perhaps to also become a "lord" of the streets. To the Top For the benefit of the mature reader who may be in the position to assist those in need of help where drug use and abuse is concerned (especially law enforcement personnel), we have linked below to this two-hundred year old poem by William Wordsworth. It offers guidance and support to those "fighting the good fight," and is more germaine today than it ever was. Character of the Happy Warrior, by William Wordsworth
These may be tough words for a young person to read, and it is likely that the average teenager will have enough sense to see through the sham of the drug subculture. By filling their lives with hobbies and sober pastimes, it is possible to grow and mature without resorting to the all-destroying habits of the drug dealer and user. Even so, there will be other troubling issues in a young person’s life, some looming as large as the question of whether or not to try or use drugs. College choices will be difficult, should the teenager decide to try that route. Whether or not to get jobs, or have a family might also distress the minds of a young couple. Unfortunately, these problems and others equally as important fill the lives of young people just when the drug pushers and their supporters are their most active, and making their greatest inroads in society. The adage that “crack cut a swath through entire neighborhoods” is not yesterday’s headlines, but the truth of the matter is that crack doesn't fell trees or chop down bushes. It kills and destroys lives, brings houses into such ruin that they can only be torn down, and has immeasurably saddened countless parents, grandparents and other relatives and friends. Almost as much can be said for other drugs, including marijuana and LSD.
Yet despite these terrible costs, the drug dealer and his allies, the Mafia, stand tall in the face of authority, while parents, neighbors and the true friends of youth crumple before threats of violence, intimidation of all sorts, and the certainty of reprisals. The Churches may either close their doors to the problem, or offer the only thing they can. That is counseling and solace to those bereft of their youthful hopes. But it is the solace of a burial, and rarely enough to get a youngster back on the right track after a serious encounter with drugs. A lifestyle has become a way of dying, and this is soon generally recognized. The drug-addicted teen must move away, perhaps to find similarly situated persons with whom they might indulge themselves for a few more years in their drug-taking habits. But almost always the end result is the same as that of the children who were sold the tiny shots of gin and rum in the alleys of Old New York. They die prematurely, rarely living past the age of thirty, their bodies burnt out, unable to obtain the food, clothing and housing they need as adults. Should they have children, these are quickly scooped up by the Church or civil authorities, and placed with families able to afford their upbringing. This is the life that drug growers, smugglers, dealers and their enablers hold out and perpetuate.
The Enabler In most discussions of drug use, one extremely important type is usually left out. That is not the dealer, or even necessarily a drug or substance abuser of any kind whatsoever. The person referred to is actually the enabler of drug and substance use and abuse, and may be totally without any addiction, dependencies, or even a history of drug use or experimentation themselves. Sometimes they are members of the drug user’s peer group. Other times they may be parents, guardians, or elders in a position of trust. Always their attitudes about drugs and alcohol are either uninformed, or they consider their use to be a matter of personal choice and lifestyle. They generally either ignore the dangers, dismiss them as “part of living,” or go into denial. These enablers provide or allow for the use of homes and cars, frustrate law enforcement officials and those working for recovery, lend psychological and moral support to the user, or act in other ways that “makes life easier” for the drug user, despite their implied or expressed intent to continue in a pattern of use and dependency.
Enablers may also be community leaders who simply turn a blind eye to the plight of the young and drug use, in general. They might be citizens who band together in denial, fearing a high cost to their community’s reputation by recognizing the existence of a social evil among them. Property taxes, house salability, social reputation and business climate are issues which are foremost in the minds of town-and city-dwellers. Drug and alcohol abuse is a huge and many-armed monster which most communities are simply not equipped to deal with. Those who raise their heads in opposition to the inroads that drugs are making in their community may even be put down or ostracized, giving the drug dealers an even greater hold over the popular psyche and the imagination of the community's young people, especially those tiring of their parents' perennial authority over all things.
On a more mundane level, drug users must rest long times between episodes of use. Using drugs is a mentally, if not physically, strenuous or draining activity. Should they be deprived of solace, retreat and a place to recover, drug users would soon be unable to appear in public without being labeled “derelict,” and “ruined.” The enabler prevents this from happening by providing nourishment and housing, either directly, or through their influence over those responsible for the same. Sometimes the enabler is an old, “retired” dealer or user. He “rides herd” over the young and active users, shepherding the newcomers until they are hardened, or ruined and “finished.” Other times, it may be the user’s mother, who loves and sides with her child through their struggle with the demons of drug abuse, and nurses them back to health after each episode of use. The mothers of drug and substance abusing persons may be fully justified in their protective and nurturing response to their child's condition. Drug addiction and dependency is as much an illness as a moral failing. However, such mothers might be better served by trying to convince their children who are drug users that they do have a choice in the matter of substance abuse, and a will that may be exercised such that they might cure themselves, whatever the medical, social or psychiatric prognosis. Also, the good intentions of those who would treat drug-users as invalids might play into the hands of the dealers and organized criminals who wish to be and are harmful and evil, and who seek to profit by human frailty and the inexperience of youth, full well knowing that to do so will destroy those young people's hopes, and possibly ruin their lives.
Then, where psychological incest pains the child partner, and may drive it into the arms of the drug dealers to escape the ache and frustrations of unconsummable love, a mother may also feel the pangs of incestuous love, and be torn between wishing to see her child grow up and away from her, marry and become self-supporting, and holding him close, as a companion, a source of comfort, as well as for emotional support. An impaired child is a dependent child, and drugs above all impair the ability of a young person to mature and grow into an independent adult. In some cases a mother may elect to see her son's wings clipped through drug or substance abuse, deciding that such a fate is for her preferable to waiting for his departure, to be left behind, alone and nearly heartbroken. In exchange for him staying as a helpmate, source of affection and moral support, she may help him make choices between self-destroying drugs, repeatedly nurture him back to health after episodes of drug use, and "cover his tracks" where the authorities are concerned. It matters not that he cannot rise in the world, and will remain in some degree dysfunctional all his life. Should he need a female companion himself, it is almost certain that his mother will approve of one, at least one who "understands his disability." Her opinion of him, of his occupation or lack thereof, his social status, even his sexual orientation, is all that really matters anyway. An old Native American tale of the origins of corn similarly points towards this inward-looking and subjective psychology. Two brothers asked their mother how they can grow corn, for they had failed time after time. She responded, "Kill me and drag my body around the field three times." This they did, and thereafter were successful in their efforts. It's a gruesome story of incest-driven dysfunctionality and its cure, but Freudian psychology shows how it may have a grounding in an essential and universal psychological phenomenon, and reinforces the notion that parents may choose to conspire with their children who are using drugs, despite the known dangers.
A father and daughter may experience the same emotional dilemma. Of course, there will be differences because of the gender reversals. The father, through his outgoing, job-oriented personality, may actually take his daughter up and away from the home life and domesticity, even when the cage is gilded. Should her father be a college-educated professional person, the daughter may through their psychologically incestuous bond, break new ground where the employment of women is concerned, rising in the world as fast as any of her brothers, perhaps faster. Psychological incest is not always dysfunctional, but may be adaptive, and even essential in certain cases. The Ancient Egyptian Priests decided that the ruling family, the Pharonic dynasty, would or could cohabit incestuously, and they willingly served sisters married to brothers, and mothers married to sons. It was, perhaps, a matter of trust, and only a brother/husband could be relied upon not to murder his royal mate in the endless struggles for primacy and power. This right to live incestuously was restricted to the Pharoahs, and the ordinary Egyptian lived with the universal and eternal incest taboo, not unlike the Polynesians, the Europeans, the Asians, and the rest of humanity. Modern American parents may sometimes, whether wittingly and willingly or not, actually be the enablers of drug and substance abuse by their children because of the frustrations of incest-driven love.
School or civil authorities may also choose not to execute or enforce a “tough on drugs” policy. Anyone may be an enabler, by speaking softly, not watching the corners and “bad” houses, by not insisting that the authorities do their duty and pursue the dealers and users as they should. Theoretically, every citizen has the duty to report drug use as much as any other crime, whether by a fellow high schooler, or in a neighboring house. Drug abuse enablers may be too concerned with their own problems, or have tried antidrug tactics in the past, and paid a steep price as a consequence. Drug use, at the present level, has continued now for two generations, from the Sixties generation through to their offspring who are now bringing up their first children. Distinct social pathways have grown up for the introduction of new drugs, or the using and selling of old ones. Communities may even define themselves by the drugs they use. Crack users go one way, and marijuana smokers another. It is the same difference that one might find between beer and wine drinkers. They form different behavioral groups in the community of intoxicants users, sometimes while following their parents’ cultural directives closely.
Though we may be taught to trust police officers from an early age, their are at least two reasons that the police themselves might enable the distribution of illegal drugs and fail both to assist you in avoiding entanglement with druggies and to arrest the drug dealer-culprits. The first is that the police have their own lives, families, values and education, and may see you quite unlike you see yourself. They may think you are a "born loser," or your "blood is bad," that the use of drugs is not the greatest issue in your life, or even a determinative factor in its outcome. If your family is poor, or your parents divorced, they might believe that you are a natural and inevitable product of your family history and upbringing. They could see you as a "product of the slums," or of empty middle-class (bourgeois) or materialistic values. A less pleasant consideration is that the police might be as morally reprehensible as the drug dealers, and "on the take," collecting substantial amounts of money from local drug dealers to ignore the traffic, or receiving other favors from organized criminal interests. The destruction of the public trust makes this crime among the most serious on record, however, it still remains common, especially in large cities, where new faces are the rule, and no one knows each other for very long. The second reason is that if you should cooperate with the police and "tip them off" concerning the distribution and use of illegal drugs in your high school or neighborhood, they still can't just "go in" and nab the culprits responsible. They are pitted in a battle of wits, constrained by venerable legal protections of civil liberties, and must wait for the opportune time to apprehend even a well-known drug dealer, even if there is a substantial chance that murders may be committed and large amounts of illegal drugs distributed in the interim. It is as likely that the police, alerted to drug dealing, will wreak social havoc in a socially and economically unfamiliar neighborhood where the residents have their own ways, sometimes foreign to the class from which most public safety officers are taken, and the police are politically unpopular. This should not be so terribly difficult to understand, having witnessed the war in Iraq. It began when UN WMD (weapons of mass-destruction) enforcement officers were denied access to sites they suspected might be used to manufacture poison gas, micro-biological warfare materials, etc. In the same way, the police, when obstructed, or seeing drug dealers enjoying protection and refuge in a community, might embrace unsavory tactics in an attempt to force the community to "give the dealers up," or drive them from their hiding places. In this sense, the police are unwilling or unwitting enablers of drug distributors and drug use, since they may, by their tactics, make government and law enforcement an unpopular and unaccepted presence in a neighborhood.
Though the effects of drug abuse remain as deleterious now as they were forty years ago, memories are short, and people see themselves first as members of a neighborhood having little in common with other, different neighborhoods. Drug users hide in these differences, pointing their fingers at the “others,” the wealthier, the more privileged by race, anyone who disagrees with their choices to use illegal and intoxicating substances. They may thus win enablement, and their drug habit will be tolerated or allowed until it results in catastrophe. That is when drug using mothers die, and substance-dependent babies are left in the care of their grandmothers. Then, the community may reconsider, and with the guidance and leadership of social institutions, such as the Church or town council, raise the consciousness of its members as to the destructive process of drug and alcohol abuse, which is so insidious and ruinous if left unchecked.
Glossary for Chapter 6 (Scroll down for all entries) Adage - cliché, saying Behavioral groups - Groups of people identified according to criteria or parameters set by behaviorists, or behavioral scientists. Conformism - The practice of acting exactly the way society expects you to according to what or who you "are," or acting exactly like all other members of your peer group. Stereotypical behavior. He was a conformist in all things. Totally unlike the conformist stands the nonconformist, as important as their opposite. Nonconformism is an important phenomenon, underlying some of the most important intellectual and scientific advances of all time. Much of what was in the past "known to be factual" was taken to be true because certain influential or powerful groups believe it to be so. When Catholic theologians thought the world to be flat, it was as far as all the ships' captains of Europe were concerned. Should one have considered that sailing out into the Atlantic might result in the discovery of new lands, one's friends and family would certainly offer discouraging words. They "knew" that whoever did so, risked falling off the edge of the earth. Copernicus was a nonconformist astronomer living in a land distant from the Catholic West and South of Europe who first proposed that the world was round. Though his assertions flew in the face of conventional wisdom, this scientific deduction led to a breakthrough during the Age of Discovery by convincing Christopher Columbus that it was possible to reach China by sailing West, before that time thought impossible. The advance of society is a dialectic (a dialogue of ideas, acts, etc.) between conformists and nonconformists, those who see the greater good in solidarity and unified, traditional and coherent action, and those who see the possibility of great social advances and improvements through change, innovation, adaptation and "breaking the mold." Seekers after "truth" may also discover themselves labeled unorthodox or iconoclastic. Deleterious - Worse, a change for the worse. Enablement, to Enable - Something that allows something else to happen. A prerequisite action or event. Something necessary for the occurrence of something else. Hombre - Spanish for "man." Usually means a very strong, tough or masculine man. Icon - idol, image, symbol Insidious - Corrupting, evil, entrapping Manipulating - Changing to suit the needs of the manipulator. Who manipulates changes something to suit their needs. Mundane - Ordinary, humdrum, something of this world or unexceptional. Prematurely - Before its time. Privileged - Given extraordinary advantages in life or society, usually because of race, wealth, or occupation. Opposite of disadvantaged or underprivileged.
Chapter VII - The Ten Biggest Lies about Drugs, and Six Big Lies that Drug Users tell Themselves and OthersEdit
Drug dealers lie. So do their supporters and suppliers. But everybody lies sooner or later, you may respond. That is true, and the world fabric is woven of lies and half-truths, falsehoods and mere hopes. That is how human beings endure the shortcomings and disappointments of everyday life. Religion tries to set examples and instill virtues, but there are many for whom the hopes and promises of religion are simply too ephemeral, or too ancient and without meaning. These may open a fresh ear to the lies of the drug dealers, and they, in turn, cuts the whole cloth to fit the newcomer to the world of drugs. Here are a few of the lies you will hear whispered when you approach the dealer for the first time, or fail to flee when approached. And even if you have never taken drugs, nor considered doing so, the lies that drug dealers use to hook their victims are the same as those used to condition all who live within their realm of influence, a sphere that grows larger day by day. With these falsehoods they may make an enabler out of any well-meaning adult who has contact with young people.
1. Drugs are safe, or, marijuana (or some other drug) is "soft" or safe.
Hard drugs are fraught with mortal danger, and soft drugs are not safe, nor are any drugs truly soft. “Soft” is an old term used to distinguish marijuana from heroin, a potently addictive substance. It was coined in the days before the physiological and psychological effects of marijuana were well-known. Since those days, it has been discovered that marijuana causes not only a physiological addiction, but definite psychoses or mental diseases have been detected in longtime users that are absent in nonusers, illnesses which may be correlated with marijuana use. Today, the marijuana being sold on the street has an increased potency of between ten and twenty times. Illegal drugs, or other intoxicating substances, are dangerous. What the user is doing is taking some kind of poison or somewhat poisonous substance in sufficient quantities to impair and disrupt their ordinary thought and muscular processes - make them giddy, dizzy, dull and helpless, unable to control their neuromuscular system as they might when they are sober, and generally diminish their personal control over themselves. By lowering self-control and inhibitions, or creating mirthy feelings inappropriately, the drugs may create the opportunity for further deviant behavior, including crimes of passion or opportunity and unsafe sexual practices.
2. The effects of drugs are temporary, and you can “kick” or kick the habit, and go on as if you never took them if you just try them or use them a few times. You can take them or leave them, as you like.
The purpose of this writing is not to discourage persons who want to clean up their act and put an end to their use of drugs. However, it is more important to tell the truth, and even one-time or casual use of marijuana and other drugs can cause detrimental and irreversible psychological and social changes. It is hard to tell why, but casual use or experimentation with any intoxicating substance is no substitute for a never-took-it,-never-will policy. This is far preferable, and if extended to nicotine and caffeine, would greatly increase the life-chances and general social and occupational outlook of the policyholder.
3. Drugs can give you courage, attractiveness, social standing, etc.
This is one of the greatest selling points that dealers use, since it is they who make the profits, and display the financial rewards of drug dealing by driving flashy cars, etc., while standing on the wrong side of the law, seemingly fearless of apprehension and incarceration. In fact, the drug dealer might have been a successful businessman in a legitimate line of work, and enjoyed all the rewards of their success without resorting to the destructive process of drug dealing. They might have been a leader of their community while pursuing a legal occupation, not chasing school buses, or hounding twelve-year olds to try some crack or grass laced with Angel Dust. Illegal drugs only compound the troubles that young people are encountering for the first time. Life is tough. One can only be sure of a mother’s love, and then not always. But the attentions of a drug dealer or their supporters and enablers are self-serving in the extreme. Never turn to a drug dealer for approvals, affection, the fulfillment of any other emotional need or matter of self-esteem.
4. Drugs are recreational, a way of relaxing and helping you "be yourself."
In recent years drug dealers and suppliers coined the term "recreational drug" to describe their products. Though the term has stuck, and is being used as a descriptive word even in this book, it is the cruelest twist that language ever took. Ecstasy, or X, was the drug that was most touted as a club or recreational drug, and even the lines of distribution were carefully constructed to enhance this image. From drug labs in Amsterdam, Holland, the drugs were sent to places like Princeton, New Jersey, the university town, and the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area. These places are the scene of much partying by college-age young people. Enhanced by association with these "in-places," "in groups" and social leaders, the drugs are "cut" and then forwarded to the “boonies” or boondocks, the rural and semi-rural areas where young people are brought together in county high schools, and the information required to sell, and take drugs may there be obtained. As for ecstasy, the first illegal drug touted as recreational in nature, it is one of the most brain-damaging drugs ever. In sufficient quantities, it literally cooks the brain, raising body temperature to where the brain may suffer irreversible damage. The brain of an ecstasy-user may actually shrink to a portion of its former size, and become nearly dysfunctional in the process.
5. Drugs are an escape.
Sometimes life is just too hard to bear. Anything seems better than going on, and sufferers of chronic pain, whether emotional or physical, may turn to drugs for relief. This is not a recreational process, but a carefully considered decision to seek a chemical solution to personal problems which have before then defied solution. However, the chemicals carry their own risks, and more often than not, the problems are compounded. More and more people are banding together to create solutions to problems which do not resort to drug use. Churches are becoming more sophisticated in addressing the needs of modern youth and others beset by complex social issues such as Racism, Sexism and Consumerism. Emotional and social problems may be just as painful as physical ailments, and it is these spiritual needs that present the greatest challenge in the first part of the Twenty-first Century to those who have traditionally cured the souls of those afflicted with grief, sadness, melancholy and other emotional torments.
6. Drugs are a “youthful” thing to do.
Actually, drugs are the opposite, but to say so is to reaffirm ageist prejudices. A person is at their physical peak at the age of eighteen or so, but years before, the human being has peaked as an object of affection to their parents and family. You remember the story. “Jimmy was born after me, and my parents put me aside. He was very cute, and got all the attention.” This tale of disappointment and rejection is repeated again and again. For girls, the age of seven, or second grade, seems to be a peak of attractiveness. For boys, the age is older, about twelve, or seventh grade. After that, everyone is “old” within their own family, and this is a selling point for drug dealers. “You’re old and over the hill,” a dropout dealer might tell a fourteen year old still in school. “You’ll never be the cute kid you were when you were in the seventh grade.” Sentiments such as these play upon the way in which children and teens see themselves in the world, chiefly as objects of affection to their parents and other elders. Whether they will it or not, the value system which makes them so is inexchangable for the time being.
In actuality, age is relative and one’s relative age is one factor in many as to personal attractiveness. From infancy to senility, each age finds its admirers. Unfortunately, it may be the defeat of the attractions of one age that lead to the feelings that drugs are the answer, and inebriation and intoxication will provide some sort of solace for lost love or innocence. You are not old when you are fourteen, nor when you are seventy. “Old” must be considered as an ageist term, which may be used with a negative effect to disempower and demean the group so termed. Grade schoolers may call high schoolers “old,” and do so with the intent of shoving them aside in the battle for attention and approval. Twenty-year-olds might do the same with regard to forty-year-olds, and forty-year-olds might wield the same ax against seventy-year-olds. In all cases, the arbiters are those whose approvals are important, whether it be the public at large (public opinion), fathers and mothers, or whoever is in the position to grant license, give employment, or hand out gratifying rewards of any sort.
7. Drug use has an ideological or cultural justification, and drugs are a panacea, or cure-all, for physical or psychological ailments (the herbal or cultural cure argument).
There may be certain cultures and ideologies which inadvertently lend themselves to drug use, or other sorts of antisocial behavior. However, the kind of drug use which has been described above, and which is the subject of this writing, would never be condoned by any ideology, mainstream cultural entity, or ideological organization. As to legitimate cultures which use herbal remedies as traditional medicine, none prescribe the commonly abused drugs, such as marijuana and alcohol, as cure-alls or panaceas for either physical or psychological ailments. To use them as such is an abuse of all medicinal lore and teaching by every culture, not only that of the West. The three greatest "ingredient culprits" in the "snake oils" and "panaceas" that held onto a spot in the American marketplace for many decades as a way of defrauding consumers of their medical dollars were alcohol, opium and cocaine, all of which were liberally added to the bogus cure-alls to mask two of the major symptoms of illness, namely pain and lethargy, or weakness.
8. You can hide it (both the fact that you use drugs and the effects they have on you). Drug users may be led to believe that they cannot be detected if they simply put on airs, or otherwise try to conceal the fact that they are intoxicated. In fact, almost anyone can tell if a drug user is high, and teachers and others in positions of authority are trained to spot intoxicated persons immediately. The course of action, the venue or scene of correction, the persons who will bring the user into the system - it is these questions that must be answered before drug users may be “yanked from the pond,” and drawn into the correctional system. Drug use, however destructive it's consequences, is almost always considered a non-violent crime until the user has directly harmed someone other than themselves, or destroyed or misappropriated property. Therefore, most authorities believe that time is not of the essence when apprehending a drug user, unless they are known to be engaged in criminal activity related to their drug use, such as dealing or stealing. Truly, it is the authorities who are most successful in hiding the fact that they have spotted drug use, while druggies are almost always detected in the act of using drugs, or soon after the fact, and rarely succeed in concealing their intoxication for very long in public.
9. The offense of drug use is neither legally serious nor of great importance to the authorities. "Look at Jimmy Jones. He's a viper (drug user), and nobody bothers him," whispers the drug dealer, while Jimmy saunters by, cutting a dashing figure with his shiny, new high-tops, and flashy shirt, seemingly uncaring and unchallenged in his lifestyle by his parents or schoolteachers. The dealer might then intimate that the legal consequences will be light for first time users and users in general, or that dealers and smugglers are the ones who will pay the legal penalties for drug use, pay whopping fines and go to jail, while mere users will be treated as unwitting victims, and go scot free.
Believing this lie that drug dealers commonly convey to prospects and first time users is a terrible, and perhaps fatal error. In fact, in some jurisdictions, simply posessing drugs for one's own personal use is a felony, and arrest and conviction for using or dealing drugs carries with it the likelihood of a criminal record that will follow you for your entire life. As for the case of "Jimmy Jones,..." every person must pursue a different walk in life. Some will engage in the skilled trades, and some will live by their labor, while still others will enter the world of high trust, law and law enforcement, education, business, politics, medicine and national defense. In these areas trust and good faith are of the essence, and matters of trust and good faith given the highest priority. Even jobs and social positions supportive of those so engaged are likely to scrutinized. "The wife of Caesar must be beyond suspicion," is the quote so often used to describe this relationship. Drug use can only compromise an individual's ability to fulfill the trust placed in them by society to perform the duties required of those so occupied, or otherwise in positions of special trust. Then too, schools have taken to expelling those who can be shown to be involved with drugs, and almost always those expelled will not find another public school to take them back. Drug arrests may also lead to the termination of educational benefits beyond high school, such as student loans and scholarships. If those convicted of youthful drug- and alcohol-related infractions do complete their educations, it will be at their parents' expense in one of the private schools that specialize in educating troubled youth. Middle and high school drug use may well lead to a stunted life, lived on the margins of society, without adequate employment opportunities, housing and other goods which ordinary Americans have come to take for granted.
10. You have to take drugs to be with the in-crowd, or, the coolest kids (quarterback on the football team, etc.), are taking drugs, so you must also, or be left out.
This is the toughest lie of all, because it plays on all the hardest parts of being a teenager. After turning away from one’s parents for valid affectional and emotional reasons, should one lose the approvals and respect of one’s peer group, one must surely be left alone and desolate, perhaps to be crushed by depression and suicidal feelings. There is no easy answer to this lie. The star football player may very well take drugs. Drug use has permeated all levels of society, and no occupational status removes one from the temptation to take drugs. The best answer may be to make your own in-crowd, one totally opposed to drug and alcohol abuse. With computer chat-rooms and the ease of e-mailing, you may be able to do this much more easily than ever before. You may be able to reach out to places the drug pushers cannot get to even if your high school or community has been "taken over" by druggies and dealers. Try it! You cannot throw away your life for a few lousy lies by drug pushers, users and enablers.
Ten possible silent or soto voce (silent) comments that a drug dealer might make upon meeting with his potential or actual customers, or, what drug dealers think or say in whispered tones, but never say aloud:
1. “Life is too tough for you because you’re such a wimp and a pussy, but I’ll take your money, anyway. Give it to me! And, oh, yeah,... here’s your dope.”
2. “I couldn’t get anything half decent from my supplier, but here’s some oregano I doped up with PVC glue and angel dust. Give my your money and take it! Hey, buddy,... before you go,... I fence stuff, too. You know,... jewelry, bicycles, power tools, anything of value. Get the picture? Tell your friends I’ll be around for a while.”
3. “This stuff (drug) will ruin your chances in school, wreck your life, and make your whole family miserable. Have fun!”
4. “You’re not tough. I’m from the big city, the ghetto,... I’m tough. You’ll do what I say, or else...” "Kid, here's your dope. If you snitch and tell anybody where you got this stuff from, you're dead meat. You dig me?"
5. “If you weren’t such a loser, you wouldn’t be here,... buying drugs from me. So why should I care if you wreck your life more because I sell you my drugs. You weren’t going anywhere, anyway.”
6. “First, I’m going to get you hooked, but good. Then, I’m going to get all your friends hooked. You’re all going to be lousy druggies by the time I’m done. Why am I doing this? For the money, I guess,... but I hate you and your parents’ guts, too. See me smiling? Yeah, I’m from the slums, the wrong side of the tracks, and was thrown out of school before I was twelve. My pappy disappeared, and my momma went to jail. So, bleep you and your momma. Now, let’s talk business.”
7. “Let’s say you don’t buy my drugs. Where you gonna go? You can’t go anywhere in this town straight, not at your age,... not who you are. They’ll laugh you down and out. Look at your clothes. They’re goofy! I’ll tell you what to do. Get smashed with this stuff, and laugh right back at them. They won’t know why you're laughing or what to do about it, and you’ll be the winner.”
8. “Who are you? Whew! Man, get the roach spray. What a loser! Listen, Johnny, or whatever your name is. You gotta get your head straight. First we'll get you stoned, and then we'll try you out dealing some shit to your buddies. That will fix you up some. Man, you’re a mess. Oh, well, I guess you gotta be something, and now you’re gonna be a druggie.”
9. “Look what we’ve got here! The kid the school bus driver wouldn’t pick up. How many schools did they try to put you in, kid? Well, I’ll get you into a school,... the County Training School and Reformatory. Maybe you'll learn a trade,... like breaking and entering or strong-arm robbery. Ha, ha, ha!... Hey, you got your money ready? Here’s the dope! You’ll do anything after a few hits of this stuff.”
10. “Listen, punk. You don’t have enough money to do business with me. How are you going to get money for this stuff,... you know,... bread? Can you steal? Does your momma keep cash around the house? Can you shake down the younger kids? How ya' gonna get money for my dope? You hear me?!”
Six Big Lies that Drug Users tell Themselves and Others:Edit
1. "I can take it or leave it." Persons who try or use drugs may suffer from some preexisting condition which predisposes them to drug and substance abuse. This condition may be psychological in nature, or in the way of some enzymatic deficit, vitamin deficiency, glandular insufficiency, or even a learning problem. Drugs are often used to either mask symptoms (especially fatigue or pain), or dull painful thoughts and calm "nerves." Using intoxicating herbs and beverages for this purpose is not a new phenomenon. Some of the most traditional and ancient drug use in the world is for exactly these purposes, namely coca leaf chewing by the Andean Indians, khat chewing by the natives of East Africa, and, yes, the drinking of beer and wine by the natives of Europe and the Middle East. Actually, drug users usually can leave the substance they are abusing... to try a new drug, perhaps one that is stronger and more addictive.
2. "It has no effect on me." This is said by users to mean that the drug is not changing their lives, lowering their goals, and destroying their chances in life. That is what they hope. But, in fact, drug use almost always ruins a user's opportunities to advance through education and employment, and only the greatest good luck will save a determined drug user from a misspent life. Should a casual drug user be arrested, they can almost be certain of a long-term entanglement with the law, one that drags in their family and throws their good reputations into doubt. A variation on this statement of belief is "I can use any drug which I am able to manage, but which doesn't manage me." Of course, the user really cannot see what the drug is doing to them, either subjectively or objectively, and deleterious effects may remain latent or be masked for years after an episode of drug abuse. The most difficult thing in the world is to see oneself as others see them, and even more difficult is to see oneself as social and psychiatric professionals see you.
3. "I know my limit, what to take to get high" or "My dealer will advise me correctly concerning the proper dosage (of a given drug), how much to take." Drug and substance abusers, even casual users, always swear by the Druggie's Book of Dosages. printed by the same people that publish the Bartender's Book of Dosages. Of course, no such book actually exists, and bars and saloons have been successfully sued for serving persons who are obviously impaired and incapacitated by drink. If professional bartenders, with the law standing behind and over them, cannot "dose" a customer correctly, how in the world can a dealer, running from the law, and with no legal business or occupation such as might be held accountable in court, even pretend to be able to advise his customers as to the correct dose where his illegal drugs are concerned. Excessive usage is the rule, rather than the exception where illegal drugs are concerned, and often it is only the attention and concern of the user's drug-using friends that shields them from the distinct possibility of death or coma by reason of a drug overdose.
4. "I'm going to begin rehab pretty soon." This is one lie which, as often as not, turns out to be the truth. But the rehab that the user must begin is not the one envisioned, an easy voluntary one built around pleasant group therapy sessions with peers. What is more likely to happen is that an arrest and conviction on drug-related charges will result in a court-ordered rehab, or a "cold turkey" detox in a jail cell. Drug use is not the light or amusing pastime such as might be compared to the moderate consumption of beer and wine with meals. It is a tough, no-holds-barred contest between the law and the community on one side, and organized crime, pushers, hustlers and users on the other. How could anyone become involved on the wrong side of the law in such a dangerous and potentially ruinous world? Usually through ignorance, lack of self-knowledge or social disadvantage.
5. "I want to quit, but I can't. I'm too caught up. You know,...buddies,... friends..." You are never too caught up in drugs to quit. You may not be able to quit on your own terms, but there is another world out there waiting for those truly converted to a life of sobriety, a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle. If you would only forswear the use of any and all intoxicating, stimulating or psychoactive drugs or substances, you will be welcomed with open arms to the world of the sober, and any number of support groups will open their doors to you. It is never too late to build a drug-free life.
6. "I can quit when I want to. I'm not a hard-core user." This statement, like numbers 1, 4 and 5, rests upon the drug user's presumption that have complete control over their lives, at least where drugs are concerned. That is as far from the truth as possible. Even the casual user has made some very grave decisions before ever lighting up that first joint, or smoking that first rock of crack cocaine, choices they will not easily be able to reverse. These might have been made when that person was twelve years old, or younger, and they may have been verbalized or simply manifested as quiet resolve. But one thing is certain, and that is that the young person who has started out on drugs cannot go back on those things they have decided or affirmed as preconditions for their using drugs freely or with any great certainty of success. It is as if the user has written a very long computer program, and the result is the act of using drugs. To re-write that program to exclude drug and substance abuse may be unfeasible or impossible without professional help and outside intervention.
Glossary for Chapter 7 (Scroll down for all entries) Adjudicated - Judged, the work of the court. Condoned - Approved of. Correlated - Considered to be caused by or a cause of with some certainty. Disempower - To take power away from, to weaken or strip of all authority. Ephemeral - Passing, fleeting, momentary. Entanglement, legal entanglement - Any act of legal consequence, whether a tort or a crime, (civil or criminal), must be adjudicated with observance of the defendant's rights to due process. That is, the person suspected or accused must first be arrested and charged, and then stand trial according to the rules of the court. They will be entitled to counsel and a jury of their peers. This will could take many months, even years, and a lawyer will be needed by the defendant the whole time to guide them through the long and tortuous process. That is why brushes with the law are called legal entanglements. Fraught - Filled, associated. Inadvertently - By mistake Inebriation - Drunkenness. Misappropriated - Stolen, robbed, usually implies theft by deception. Panacea - A cure-all. A substance that is good for "everything that ails you." Permeated - Saturated, soaked through, riddled with. Racism, Sexism and Consumerism - The three most troubling cultural phenomena of the present day. Racism is the prejudging of people according to their race. Sexism is the prejudging of people according to their sex. Consumerism is the judging of people according to their economic status and ability to pay. Senility - Mental weakness, usually occasioned by age, sometimes by disease, such as AIDS or syphilis. Dementia. Sophistication - Highly developed technique. Technologically advanced. Characteristic of an advanced level of culture, education, etc.
Chapter VIII - Prevention, Resistance, and RecoveryEdit
Prevention is the key, recovery is a slow and never-ending process. With prevention, there will never grow up the complex of regrets and dashed hopes, the lies and liars that snared the drug user at first. Human life is all-important. This is a first premise for law, for government, and for religion as well. It is not the insignificance of the drug user’s life, but the cost of treatment which has been found to be the greatest obstacle to drug treatment and recovery. The prisons hold one population of users and former users that failed to escape detection or be cured. Those who avoid drug-related crimes and arrest may find a solution in other areas of institutional care. Usually, the drug user is slow to realize the magnitude of their problem, and quick to resort to “changes of medication,” that is, to try other drugs. This simply means that other chemical means will be substituted to obtain the desired result, new dealers will be found to serve as accomplices and role models, and a new round will be run in the never-ending battle to escape detection, defeat sobriety, and evade prosecution. The only perfect solution to the unending cycle of substance abuse is total and permanent rejection by the user of any and all mood modifiers, recreational drugs, and psychoactive or addictive substances of any sort. Then, and only then, will the former user have none of the problems of drug use, but all the problems of living life as a human being. It is not necessarily a happy prospect. Life is filled with defeats and disappointments, even for the champions of this world. But drugs are not the answer.
As to resistance, the main elements are: 1. Never join with druggies or dealers, even in opposition. You are not speaking to them, but to their drugs. The only thing that will deter a convinced or career drug user is aversive education, that is, if they get sick or punished each time they take the substance they are abusing. Remember, the drug user is dosing themselves, treating themselves as if their own spirit was insufficient to their lifestyles, or to the solution of their life-problems. They seek to manipulate their body chemically, taking uppers to feel excited and enthusiastic, downers to escape or calm down, and psychedelics to obtain insight and dreams. This is an abuse of their humanity and their spirituality which they have chosen to undertake, and reveals a deep contempt for society and human life, in general.
2. Never experiment with drugs or alcohol. You are not a guinea pig or some other experimental animal. You do not know how to make the kind of judgments that scientists and doctors do, nor can you separate yourself from the effects of the substances you are experimenting with, or the process of experimentation. While you may believe that you are "experimenting," the drug dealers and their backers will treat you as a neophyte, a newcomer to the vice of drugs, and try their best to "graduate" you from one drug to another, always something more intoxicating and addictive.
3. Avoid and evade druggies and dealers, even if they call you names to try to net you through your own anger and frustration. “Punk, pussy, coward, faggot,...” these are some of the names that the "boys in the hood” will hurl your way to try to bully and frighten you into using drugs. Ignore them. Fight other psychological tactics that drug dealers and their enablers might use. Sensitize yourself to your emotional reflexes. If you find your attitudes towards certain words changing, stop and think long and hard. Ask yourself, "Am I being conditioned by somebody or some group? Am I being targeted? Who are they, and what do they want from me? Will there be a chance of my taking drugs as a result of this conditioning? How are they doing it (conditioning my reflexes)? Are they doing it through suggestion? Am I listening to their whispered lies? Can I get around or defeat what they are doing?" Drug gangs may "run the street," whether in cities, towns, suburbs, or in rural districts. This cannot be helped. But oppose their wills (not their persons) with all your might. Seek out like-minded friends. Make anti-drug and pro-life policies a central part of your friendships. You will live happier, younger and longer as a result.
4. Don’t depend upon the authorities to enforce anti-drug policies. Many people with political power or authority simply deny the existence of a drug problem, since it is so intractable, and drug users are so secretive. Cooperation will earn you the title of “snitch,” and leave you open to harassment and threats from the druggies. Simply respond to their advances by saying politely, “No, thanks, man. I’m feeling mellow,” or “I’m naturally high, man. I think I’ll just pass.” Don’t try to be a cop and turn people in. Drug use is serious business, and your life is too precious to be wasted opposing what is a mega-million dollar industry. If you suspect that a drug counselling center or rehab facility is bogus, staffed and run by hypocrites and insincere people, it probably is. Nothing exists for long in a vacuum, and if the community you live in tolerates drug and alcohol abuse among young and old, alike, it is likely that it does not have the political will to implement a sincere and effective drug education and counselling program. The pro-drug and drug-legalization lobby has its ear, and though the political establishment may throw money at the problem in a showy way, it will just as quickly "poo-poo" the complaints of parents and youth claiming that drugs and alcohol are readily available on the street.
5. Practice listening to positive role models and those who really care for you. It's as hard to give young people advice these days as it was during the Sixties, and it must be just as hard for those receiving it to take that advice. But the whispered comments and thoughts of the drug dealer as described above should be a guide as to what the pushers and their Mafia backers intend for you. Should you wait until you are thirty to reconsider or resist the choices being thrust upon you now by those who are truly evil, or simply not your friends, it may by that time be too late, and you will look around to discover almost everyone you knew and depended upon as a teenager has vanished from the scene, while all legitimate occupations have been closed to you. Your parents will be too old to care for you, and To the Toping to them, even to complain that they weren't strict enough with you or just plain ignorant of the facts, will only result in more complications, such as might embroil you in legal proceedings, or worse.
6. Be extremely cautious in the use of substances (food, drugs, alcohol, etc.) that you might choose to reward yourself with for work well done, or achievements of any sort. This is probably the hardest of the elements of resistance to implement and stick with. Food comes as a natural reward, probably the first and most basic of the reasons for doing anything. The farmer assiduously cultivates his fields, and a crop of wheat springs up. The hunter stealthily and patiently tracks his game, and is rewarded with a bubbling stew of meat. But if you choose to include in your personal economy of work and reward an illegal drug, you stand to lose much more by running afoul of the law than you can possibly gain through positive behavioral reinforcement both in the short and long run. You may even end up destroying or impairing the creative elements of your personal economy, such as your industry, initiative and special talents, when the "reward" of drugs that you allow yourself for work and successes becomes a punishment through detection and prosecution by authorities. Don't reward yourself with intoxicants!
7. Do not depend upon your doctor to avoid giving you prescriptions for addictive or dependency creating drugs or substances. Doctors are usually unaware of the long-term effects of the substances they prescribe. They are wooed and courted by drug company salesmen hired by drug manufacturers, and these have an incentive (the profit motive) to make and sell drugs which create their own dependencies. Ask your doctor if the medication they are prescribing is addictive, or even mildly so. If they aren't sure, make them look it up. Tell them you are not looking for anything that you must take for very long,... that it is temporary relief you seek. If they aren't cooperative, find a new doctor. Strengthen your spirit as much as you can through contemplation, yoga or breathing exercises, wholesome recreation, rest and physical exertion. Your will shall stay with you until your dying day, through good fortune and bad, but your spirit may falter and leave you much for the worse. Care for your spirit as if it was you. Don't leave that job up to anyone less concerned with your welfare and future than you. Nor should you ever attempt to self-medicate yourself, especially for psychological problems, using illegal drugs. Marijuana and other street drugs are by no means "cure alls" for physical or mental disorders, rather the reverse. Drug usage will aggravate existing psychological problems, if in no other way than by interfering with the user's attempts to obtain assistance from legitimate sources of psychiatric help. If you believe that marijuana or some other drug has a "calmative" or "normalizing" effect on you, tell that to your psychologist. They will be able to assist you in finding safer and legal substitutes, and help you to avoid developing drug dependencies. Drugs are not herbal remedies, and don't ever let anyone ever suggest that to you unchallenged.
8. Try imagining yourself in some positive occupation, role or pastime two or three decades from now, a time when you know that your critics, rivals and many of your elders will be out of your life, or at least much less important in it. Let yourself live for the future and enjoy it. Don't let your associates rub your face in the unpleasantries of the present. Take the physical and mental discomforts that you are currently experiencing as temporary, soon and somehow to be lost to the past. Refuse to allow the cunning mind-readers and manipulators to prey upon you, exploiting your disadvantages and magnifying the emotional pain you feel as a result of your circumstances, however troubling they may be at present. Never, ever, entertain defeatist thoughts and feelings.
9. Cultivate friendships with those individuals who, like you, seek to make something out of their lives, and attain worthwhile ends. Hold these relationships at the core of your life, building on them by planning events and outings, meeting with their friends and family, and investigating the possibility of sharing hobbies and other off-time interests. Stay active, and engrossed by life. If your out of school for any reason, try taking an course online. You can even set up your own e-course by downloading the Complete Works of Shakespeare or other Classic texts from the Phillins or Ellsie Crain websites, and then, using these as e-note binders, go to the Spark's Notes site and participate in the appropriate message board discussion. In no time you will have friends and online "classmates." Then, when you are ready, and have an opportunity to To the Top to school, you will have a supportive group you can "take to school" with you, as well as an academic edge. Then, once you have a few "A's" under your belt for coursework, you'll be ontrack, again, on your way to graduating and getting that all-important degree.
Families and friends of those lost to drugs and alcohol never forget their losses.
As to recovery, anyone who has suffered a drug or substance addiction, or experienced dependencies in the use of any substance must "recover" before they can face the future free of the entanglements of drugs and the law. For this process, you will need the help of those close to you, particularly your parents, or if you are a parent yourself, you will need your children's support. It is a kind of dying and rebirth. So much that you invested of yourself in the world of drugs will be lost, but it would be anyway, and a planned recovery is an opportunity to guide the process intelligently, not just react to a judge's orders. The following seven tips should act as a starting point, and a guide that will start the reader down the real road to recovery. There is no such thing as partial recovery. It's an all or nothing process. Relapses are more dangerous than your original addiction or dependency. They create an opportunity for you to "learn your way out of or around recovery," and become a permanent slave to your addiction or dependency.
To avoid relapsing into drug and substance abuse, you must at least do the following:Edit
1. You must give up your "partners in crime," those from whom you bought drugs, with whom you shared drugs, and with whom you got high. You must part ways forever, or until they, too, are on the road to full recovery. The parting of ways with your drug-taking peers may not be amicable, but it is essential if you are to build a new, drug-free life. Find new friends, friends who have nothing to do with the drug world, and want nothing to do with it. If you have to move away from the place where you were living when you were on drugs to accomplish this, go. Nothing is more important than your winning the battle against drug addiction or substance dependency.
2. You must enter into a zero-substance use or abuse plan. Absolutely no drugs or substances which you have abused in the past, or which may be used as intoxicants or mood modifiers must pass your lips. This measure is part discipline and part good policy. It is an answer to those who constantly harp on the selectivity of the drug laws and society's "unfairness." For example, should you continue to use alcohol, you leave yourself open to criticism from those who maintain that alcohol and marijuana are equally harmful, or equally benign. You don't need that kind of faultfinding and opposition. Drop the use of all drugs, drinks and substances - nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, as well as all illegal drugs - for any and every purpose, even if you have "rewarded" yourself in the past with drinks and smokes. You want to win, don't you?
3. You must give up or reconsider at length all those dreams, plans and schemes which you built in your mind and in reality on a drug plateau, that more or less extended feeling of well-being, energy, carelessness and false reason that comes from ingesting drugs of all sorts. You must rebuild to and from sobriety. When taking drugs, you scoffed at the law. All your plans and dreams for the future were tainted by that scoffing and your scofflaw's attitude. They must be discarded, and replaced by plans made with a new or renewed respect for society and the law. The periods which nature allows us to "feel good" or "happy" are naturally short, and for good reasons. Wariness is the proper attitude for creatures living in nature. Drugs artificially extend the pleasurable intervals while dulling senses and emboldening the user. Should you depend upon these substance-created extensions of good times when you plan and build your life, you will soon find problems springing up where you thought you had none.
4. You must allow your body to act and react naturally. Rest, discomfort and mild shocks are necessary to the body to allow it to react and respond physiologically, and generate the resistances and biological elements it needs. These are the natural substances, the enzymes and vitamins, which have been depleted or replaced by the drugs you have been taking. Swim in cold water. Exercise until you're sore. Take cold showers. Allow the body's natural and reactive mechanisms to go to work. You might try camping out occasionally. Exposure to the elements may reverse the system-depressing effects that drugs had on your body, and your recovery will be hastened and more complete. You should also guard against nutritional deficiencies, and especially avoid depending upon refined and prepared foods and meat for your calories. The better your diet, the less likely it is that you will suffer from cravings of various sorts. However, "better" does not mean more costly, and you might do well to simplify your dietary intake, cutting out a meal, rather than spend more money on useless dietary supplements.
5. You should build into your life the excitement and recreation you need to maintain your interest in life. If you started on drugs because your life was just too humdrum, or too boring, you must find things which interest you anew, and hang onto these pastimes and occupations. Don't become a couch potato. Doing so will lead to ever-increasing depression, and renew your cravings for illegal substances and drugs. Prolonged inactivity may also contribute to obesity, a serious condition which may lead to illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
6. You might explore the world of psychiatry to obtain a greater grip on your own personality and behavior. You may join psycho-therapy groups composed of people like yourself, those on the road to complete recovery, or you may read the works of Freud and others who have investigated the human psyche. Whichever you do, you must think about yourself, your place in the world, and your relationships with others, particularly your parents. You will someday, too, be a parent, and whatever attitude you take towards your own mother and father, this may well be picked up by your own sons and daughters and work to your disadvantage. Recovery is as serious and life-affirming as drug-taking is frivolous and wasteful, while denial is as dangerous as the depression which lurks beneath and behind it. Instead of denying, confess and confide your situation to a health professional, especially one who has specialized in the field of substance and drug abuse. They will keep your problem a secret, and help you choose which is the best route to recovery for you to take. Each and every human being around the world has a unique way of responding to the universal imperatives of psychological incest and society's taboo against its consummation through physical or symbolic acts (Society will forbid you from marrying your mother or father, either overtly or symbolically). Each and every human being must come to the same conclusion, or pay a terrible social price, and though forbidden from pursuing their first and greatest love, must go on.
7. You should discard those mannerisms and ways of acting that you "picked up" or adopted from your drug-using and substance-abusing peers."Goofing," "giggling," "nodding out," "freaking out," "mouthing off," "acting spacey," or "strung out," - all these are living reminders to others that you ran with the wrong crowd for a time, as well as being part of the mental or reflex conditioning which you underwent before you were "hooked" and afterwards. If you can't be solemn about life - and it isn't really such a great idea to take life too seriously - try to cultivate a humor which doesn't belittle others, or make a mockery of the "straight" or conventional world. To do so makes things difficult for those around you who are trying to make a "go of it," and make things "work out" for you and others. Examine yourself for signs that you are feeling self-pity. Self-pity is a first psychological step for those who are going to choose to indulge themselves with intoxicants. Are you blaming all your problems on what you are, and not what you do? That is a sign of self-pity. Are you listening to those who are calling you a sad case, or otherwise pitying you? Their sympathies may be misplaced, and are not the best thing for you. Do you feel too perfect or beautiful to do dirty or routine work? Since most of the work of the world is ordinary and often disagreeable, you are setting yourself up for idleness and penury, and the possibility of filling those idle hours through abusing substances and selling illegal drugs. And above all, try, try, try! Should you be a person at risk, or one who has experimented with drugs, you will need all the help you can get to escape a fate worse than death. Ordinary people, burdened with life's many necessities, will have to go to bat for you. Give them a reason to stick out their necks. Be "worth it" to those who go the extra mile for you. It's not that difficult.
You must do all these things to make your recovery work, and when you are well on the road to recovery, you may consider joining with those who are devoted to helping people in need. As a provider, you will receive at least as much as you give. As a giver, you may take what you need. Christian groups, soup kitchens, housing groups such as Habitat for Humanity - all are always in need of help, and your presence will be appreciated. You may even join with those who are spending long hours and suffering much heartbreak in the attempt to intercept those at risk or destined for drug and substance abuse, many of whom are so young that they cannot understand the issues at stake, and who will inevitably be victimized by older men and women sexually and in other ways, through using drugs and alcohol.
Glossary for Chapter 8 (Scroll down for all entries)
Avante garde - A term originally used to signify the most recent developments in modern art. Later adopted by cultural observers to describe the beatnik movement. Literally means "before the front." Precocious cultural developments. Embroil - Catch up in troubles or difficulties. Enlightening - Bringing reason and rhyme to chaotic or poorly understood events or phenomena. Environment - The setting or surroundings of the matter at hand. The environment of the drug user. The drug environment. Hallucinatory, hallucinations - The property of causing visions, noises, sounds which the person hallucinating can only distinguish from reality with difficulty, or cannot distinguish from reality. Hallucinations may interfere with the sufferers ability to study, work, rest, etc. Hallucinations are thought to be caused by schizophrenic conditions, or certain drugs. The phenomenon probably involves memory cells, the forebrain or interpretive parts of the mind, spatial faculties (balance, etc.) located in the midbrain, etc. The involvement of so much of the mind makes the phenomenon difficult to treat, and one of the first chemical treatments (thorazine) was a major muscle relaxant which "dulled" the stretch reflex, and obtained relief from hallucinations through that route. Generally distinguished from imagination since imaginings are under the control of the "dreamer," where hallucinations are involuntary or obligatory. Incentive- Motivation. Intractable - Unyielding. Moral - Having to do with matters of right and wrong, as opposed to matters of will and law. They discussed the morality of her decision to seek an abortion - whether the unborn could be considered an infant child, or was not still not yet human, just an enlarged embryo or fetus. Opprobrium - infamy, dishonor, stigma, ignominy, disgrace, disrepute, disesteem, odium, shame. Psychoactive - Anything which affects the mind. Usually used in connection with chemicals, substances, or drugs. Vice - The pursuit of pleasure through gambling and gaming, imbibing or otherwise intoxicating oneself, engaging in lewd, lascivious and extra-marital sexual behavior, or otherwise violating society's mores or standards of moral conduct. Human behavior which society finds to be in the worst interest of society, and which, if adopted and practiced generally, would result in widespread suffering and losses through physical and financial ruination, and the spread of communicable diseases. Gambling, drugging and drinking, prostitution and other similar pastimes are considered vices. To the Top
Summary and ConclusionsEdit
The First Drug Epidemic, the Distilled Spirits and Alcoholism
Opium and the Chinese - When the American Government backed the Drug Pushers
Marijuana, LSD and the Sixties, the Deluge
The Crack Cocaine Epidemic
Vice, Crime and Illness, How Society sees Drug use
Casual and Hard Drug Use, Summing up the Differences:
The Moral Storm, Society's first line of Defense against Drug use
Drug use as seen by Drug users
Drug use as seen by Medical Authorities
Behavioral or Reflex Conditioning
The Physiological Consequences of prolonged Drug use
The Legal Consequences of Drug use
Government and Drugs
The First Drug Epidemic, the Distilled Spirits and AlcoholismEdit
Though drug and substance use by humans is of ancient lineage, and the practice probably stems from the earliest origins of mankind when hominids sought out herbs of various sorts that would still pangs of hunger and dull other cravings, alcohol and substance abuse in American society reached epidemic proportions in two periods. The first was during the Industrial Revolution of the Nineteenth Century, when the production of sugar was dramatically increased through the rapid expansion of sugar cane cultivation through the application of slave labor. Giant distilleries were built to convert the sugar into alcohol, namely rum and gin, and this was sold to the working class and poor. The abuse of distilled spirits, or drunkenness, wreaked havoc in the neighborhoods of the poor at least until the time of the Temperance Act. Prohibition brought with it the evils of bootlegging and organized crime. The national Temperance Act was repealed, however certain states remain nearly "dry," due to state laws regulating or banning the sale of alcohol. Alcoholism remains an insidious and endemic moral and medical disorder, and continues to claim lives and fortunes, but not on the scale it did during the first years of the industrial production of distilled alcohol.
Opium and the Chinese - When the American Government backed the Drug PushersEdit
Even as American merchants and industrialists built the production of distilled alcohol into a major industry, Yankee traders entered into the opium trade in the Far East. There, British and American merchantmen carried opium from India (the Hindu Kush) to Chinese waters. On unpopulated offshore islands, the opium was traded to Chinese middlemen who loaded it into fast "dragon boats" to be smuggled ashore. The result was the first "war on drugs" as the Chinese government sought to drive Western opium merchants away from Chinese waters. The West responded with "gunboat diplomacy" and the opium trade remained intact until the Communists took power almost a hundred years later.
Marijuana, LSD and the Sixties, the DelugeEdit
Until the 1930's, marijuana use was mainly confined to certain and specific subcultures within society, namely Mexican and Afro-American ruritarians. communities. New Orleans was perhaps the only major city with a drug problem before that time. Then, with the Great Migration of the '30's, the habits of consumption of the rural South were brought to the cities of the North, the so-called Snowbelt Cities. Drug use, like alcohol abuse, became an everyday fact of life in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and other major metropolitan areas. In response, the Federal Government enacted the CDS Act, which made marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other narcotic or psychedelic substances controlled dangerous substances (CDS), paving the way for federal, state and local regulation.
In the Sixties, the second period of "catastrophic" drug and substance abuse began, as the availability and use of marijuana and other psychedelics skyrocketed. However it was not the poor, ethnic, or racial minorities that took to using these drugs. Both white, middle-class youth and Army draftees from the urban ghettos, rural areas and working class neighborhoods "tuned in, turned on and dropped out" in a mass phenomenon that made previous subcultures of intoxication (College frat houses, saloons, bars and clubs, etc.) seem insignificant by comparison. The hippies, "teenage rebels" and other counter-culture groups had at their roots disenchantment with the Vietnam War and rapid changes in the way Americans were living and dying, while the men who fought the war found high-purity heroin and potent marijuana readily available in the drug markets of Saigon and Bangkok. For the first time, the systematic smuggling and distribution of marijuana was undertaken by the Italo-American Mafia. Heroin distribution had been previously handled by the Sicilian Mafia, who smuggled the drug from Eastern Turkey to Sicily and Marseille, a port city in Southern France. However, marijuana was ignored by organized crime until certain Mafia crime families began large-scale shipments from Mexico, and distributed the product to college students, high school students, hippies, etc. through their dealer networks. Multi-substance and drug abusers of the Sixties tried everything, from banana peels to mixtures of heroin and cocaine in their attempt to reach new "highs." However, the drugs themselves may be loosely categorized as "uppers," "downers," and "psychedelics." For their effects, please go to the third chapter.
During the Seventies, government, independent and university researchers were able to apply statistical method and other social science tools to the phenomenon of drug use to prove the toll that all with first-hand knowledge knew drugs were taking. The results were even greater anti-drug efforts on the part of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies (the War on Drugs). However, just as LSD and heroin abuse began to subside, mostly with the death, imprisonment and disablement of users, a new Latin Mafia sprang up in South Florida, while cocaine producers in South America began organizing in and around the Colombian city of Medellin. This new Mafia then developed and began marketing a highly addictive product aimed at the "street user," especially the urban poor and minority youth. This was the smokable rock of "crack" cocaine.
The Crack Cocaine EpidemicEdit
Anti-drug forces were overwhelmed as thousands of tons of cocaine flooded American cities, and children as young as eight and nine years old succumbed to crack addiction, a psycho-physical addiction so strong that not one authority in the field of drug abuse has termed it a dependency. All agree that it is a serious addiction, at least as destructive as heroin addiction. The illness that results from withdrawal has been described as intense cravings, though not for food, coldness, shaking, and a deep depression coupled with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. The phenomenon of the crack-addicted newborn child with infantile withdrawal symptoms was first observed in hospital maternity wards. Crack houses, houses held open by Mafia-backed drug pushers for the use of crack addicts, and replete with young female addicts willing to do anything for a hit on a crack pipe, sprang up across the country whether in rural areas, small towns or cities. The anesthetizing and stimulative effects of cocaine made "crack sex" or sexual relations between cocaine intoxicated young women and many male partners, one after another, a not infrequent occurrence among even very young crack users, and dramatically accelerated the spread of HIV, the virus which causes AIDS, through that group. Crack became the first hard drug preferred by women, and early on earned the reputation of being a "ladies drug."
Vice, Crime and Illness, How Society sees Drug useEdit
The use and sale of illegal and intoxicating drugs is considered by society to be a matter of vice, illness and crime. Vice, because those using drugs for escape, refuge, or recreation are thought to be doing so because of moral failings or weaknesses, or in pursuit of pleasure. Crime, because drugs take for a victim at least their user, who by abusing illegal drugs is guilty of destroying self and property, and crimes of various sorts, from disorderly behavior to larceny and murder, are fostered within and by the drug user's environment and habit and through the actions and policies of the criminal organizations (Mafias) which supply the drug using community. Illness, because all drugs are either addictive or potentially creative of physiological or psychological dependencies (cravings and deficiency diseases) in some degree or another, as well as being contributing factors in the transmission and contraction of other opportunistic diseases such as AIDS, and
Casual and Hard Drug Use, Summing up the Differences:Edit
Casual or Beginning Users may be drawn to illegal drugs because:
1. Drugs, particularly marijuana and pills, are readily concealable (unlike bulky containers of beer and other alcoholic beverages), and when used are less likely to betray the user by a distinctive or overpowering smell, such as alcoholic beverages are prone to do.
2. The casual users may find that the effects of drugs offer less offence to others than alcohol, are not as "sloppy," may be more easily disguised, and drug use carries with it a more tolerable "hangover" (the discomfort experienced on the downside of a "high," sometimes the day after).
3. They may succumb to the temptation to use under singular and specific circumstances, especially those which offer stressful encounters with their peers or others, such as proms, "rushes" or "raves" of various kinds, even school graduations.
4. They represent to themselves in advance that they are in a different class than habitual users, and cannot sink to the same level of dependency and degradation. They may believe their use of drugs to be risque, or part of the "adventure of growing up."
Hard Drug Users are drawn to and use illegal drugs because:
1. They suffer from a pre-existing personality defect which predisposes them to chonic intoxication and addiction.
2. They suffer from mental or physical pain and anguish from which they may obtain relief from through using addictive pain killers and tranquilizers.
3. Though they began using drugs casually and recreationally, they "graduated" to stronger and more addictive drugs, and cannot kick the habit.
4. They have been disabled and incapacitated through continuing use of powerful narcotics, and subsist through the workings of the drug counterculture, both by selling and otherwise supplying others with drugs, or by accepting support and acting supportively from and towards other drug users in various ways.
The Moral Storm, Society's first line of Defense against Drug useEdit
Society acts to preserve itself from threats, both internal and from without, by rewarding those it deems deserving, while making behavior which it wishes to discourage illegal. Society's members may also want to deserve the benefits which society confers. Thus, those that fail to deserve the rewards of belonging to society are in the long run in danger of losing them as much by their own acts or omissions against themselves as by "grass roots" social action and legal measures aimed at taking their property or income from them and incarcerating them. This is the principle of social opprobrium, or banning. Drug dealers, particularly the Mafia, are those who gain the most materially from the drug trade, and stand to lose the most should they fail to live within society. Therefore, they must defend themselves, weather the "moral storm," and may answer their social critics by claiming a "Robin Hood" status, where this or that illegal drug is "no worse than (no different from) for example - beer...," and/or simply another tool in the greater fight against undeserved or excessive riches ("hook the wealthy"). They might even quietly suggest that by distributing dangerous and addictive narcotics, they may be "getting rid" of society's unwanted, wretched, poor or minority youth, "bad" or disobedient teens, delinquents, hell-raisers, etc. "We (the drug Mafia) are businessmen. They (the drug users) are the buying public. If they act like animals, that doesn't concern us. It's not the fault of our drugs. Drugs don't change anything. A weed is still a weed, and a rotten kid is still a rotten kid." Such might be one paraphrase of this ugly and elitist sentiment. Virtually the same opinions were voiced by Western merchants carrying opium to China in the Nineteenth Century with regard to themselves and the Chinese masses. Since the fight by pro-drug lobbies to lift drug prohibition faltered, and probably fell for good with the onslaught of crack cocaine, the eternal workings of the marketplace (the laws of supply and demand) make it certain that drug dealing will stay profitable as long as drugs remain scarce through being illegal, and drug smuggling and dealing remains a risky business.
Drug use as seen by Drug usersEdit
For drug users, drug and substance abuse may be an escape or refuge, a reward or recreation, part of a "lifestyle" or "communal" practice, which they believe enables them to transcend the bounds of their natural abilities and those limitations placed upon them by society, or a consciousness expanding and enlightening experience. Almost always drug users fail to consider, or are unaware of the long-term consequences of drug use, and rarely perceive themselves as anything but avante garde, or at the forefront of cultural and social development. This may be due in part to the heavy investment that organized crime (the Mafia) and other drug interests make in the marketing of illegal drugs, and partly due to the reluctance of school authorities and others to undertake "moral" education (drug, alcohol, substance abuse and sex education) in an increasingly secularized and image-sensitive public school system.
Drug use as seen by Medical AuthoritiesEdit
Medical experts tell us that no matter what the reason users begin using drugs, a drug itself will soon create a "deficiency illness." That is, the substance "takes over" from the human body the role of one or another vital substance, subverting the user's natural biochemical processes. The drug user's body, failing to recognize the deficit of that metabolite, since it is being masked by the drug being used, ceases or may even lose the ability to manufacture the natural substance, whether it be an enzyme, endocrine secretion, or other essential biochemical. Illegal drugs may also be used to alleviate symptoms of vitamin deficiencies or psychological problems, whether caused by ignorance of proper dietary practice, or through the physical inability to obtain proper nourishment or psychiatric treatment. The best known deficiency diseases are scurvy, rickets, anemia, pellagra and beriberi. Kwashiorkor, a condition caused primarily by protein starvation, is unknown outside of Africa. Though the symptoms of these are well-known to doctors, presymptomatic versions of these and other deficiency diseases or conditions may create "cravings" or "non-specific hungers," which drug and alcohol users may alleviate by using and abusing controlled dangerous substances, whether alone or in various combinations. Epidemiologists might add that certain groups have developed inborn or genetic resistances to substances traditionally used, or to which the general population was largely exposed. The use of alcohol among certain European nationalities is one such example. Thus, when groups who show some "immunity" to the deleterious effects of an intoxicating substance share their habits of consumption of that substance with groups having no cultural (behavioral) or genetic immunity, the group new to use of the substance suffers its ill effects disproportionately.
According to Sigmund Freud, the most common psychiatric problem is a complex of dysfunctional character traits stemming from deeply felt incestuous feelings, or psychological incest. For the son, psychological incest is the love he holds for his mother, and for the daughter, the love she holds for her father. Parents may experience a reciprocal and identical psychologically incestuous love for their children. These feelings are universal, forming the core of behavioral taboos in all human societies. Though most individuals emerge from the process of growing up and "falling out of love" with their "incest partner," and go on to become fully-functional adults, others are haunted or crippled by their forbidden desires and psychosexual imperatives. Parents may be equally affected (such as by torment, confusion and frustration), but are usually the more experienced and judgmentally sound partner in their incestuous relationships with their children. ma...
A behavioral predisposition to use intoxicants, loosely identified as the "dependent personality," or "addictive individual," has also been identified by some drug therapists. This personality, usually narcissistic, self-pitying and self-indulgent, predisposes a person to regular and repeated intoxication through the use of both legal and illegal intoxicants. The addictive personality may have a capacity to work and function as a normal member of society, but cannot do so without repeated and ongoing episodes of retreat into a haze of drugs and, or alcohol. This definition is more solution- than cause-oriented, as are most psychotherapeutic theories and measures. For many reasons psychotherapy must discard the lengthy and in-depth personal research that psychoanalysis requires. It is a kind of psychiatric "MASH," getting people on their feet and back to work in the cheapest and quickest way possible, many times with both the internal and external conflicts still intact and at work eroding the pyschiatric client's psyche and ruining their character.
Behavioral or Reflex ConditioningEdit
Drug users and those at a "pre-use" stage of life, sometimes called "at risk," may also fall victim to psychological conditioning, sometimes called "reflex conditioning," where the world of words, motivational images, sounds and ideas is turned "topsy turvy" by drug dealers, enablers and peer group users, and almost all that is good in the world of sobriety becomes bad in that of the drug user and at-risk individual through association and manipulation. Music, symbolic imagery of all sorts, and other motivating elements in their lives are intentionally skewed to throw a positive light on the drug scene, and reinforce behavior (the use and toleration of illegal drugs) which profit drug interests. The author does not recommend the use of behavioral conditioning as a means of "curing" drug users, but sees more hope in educational measures and solutions, namely information, reason and informed choices made by the user with the enlightened support of those around them.
The Physiological Consequences of prolonged Drug use Edit
Since reliable medical observations of drug users over time are rare (drug users are secretive, rarely confine their usage to one drug, and many drop out of sight through death, or fail to cooperate with doctors or medical researchers), hard scientific evidence as to the long-term effects of using drugs is scarce. However, most medical authorities will agree that long-term drug and substance abusers are at risk for dementia, palsy, cirrhosis, various cancers and drug-induced psychosis, and that the most potent hallucinogens may cause a psychotic break or schizophrenia with as little as one usage in susceptible individuals. Doctors and researchers also agree that intravenous drug users are at increased risk for hepatitis, AIDS and other blood-borne diseases.
The Legal Consequences of Drug useEdit
One arrest may be one arrest too many where drugs are concerned. The penalties levied by the courts, including jail time, fines and probation will be extremely burdensome, but there are other legal considerations to take into account, as well. Some of these may be even more damaging in the long run than jail time, fines and a criminal record. Food stamp or welfare benefits may be denied or terminated, driving privileges suspended, and operators' licenses, such as those required to drive the big rigs, or articulated trucks, may be revoked or put out of reach of persons convicted of drug-related crimes. In some states a landlord may undertake to evict a tenant who has been convicted of drug possession using the conviction as legal good cause for the action, while employers may also use drug arrest records to either terminate an employee, or as a reason for refusing to hire an applicant. Insurers may tack on additional auto insurance premiums as a result of motor vehicle-related drug charges. In Family Court, drug arrest records may be used by the court investigator as a good reason to deny custody of a child or children to a parent, or even take away children from drug-using parents. Drug arrest records are difficult or impossible to expunge, and having been arrested and convicted, the only real recourse a drug offender will have is to put themselves at the mercy of the court, fulfill the terms of their sentencing, and remove themselves as far from illegal substance abuse and abusers and the drug-selling and using world as possible.
Government and DrugsEdit
The abuse of illegal drugs and substances is of concern to both the criminal and social welfare "arms" of government. However, where the correctional systems of the various states will willingly apprehend, try and punish the drug user for the offense of possessing or using illegal drugs no matter what your place of residence, a drug user normally will only have recourse to the psychiatric and other social services of the state which he can call his place of residence. This is an extremely important distinction, especially where students are concerned. College students often attend school outside of the state which they grew up in and where they attended high school. However, despite the fact that they spend nine months of the year at college, they are designated "specific migrants" by the authorities, and their place of residence remains their home state until they can establish an occupation and domicile apart from "student" and "dorm" or student housing. Thus, drug use at college draws to the student user two potentially very diverse forms of treatment from government. On the one hand the psychiatric offices of their home state remain the legitimate and only bodies enabled and authorized to act on their behalf, and on the other the legal establishment of the state where he acts in violation of the drug laws stands ready to arrest and punish them. The authorities of the state where they are attending school, represented by the police and the courts, may bring charges and prosecution where warranted, drawing the student offender back to tbe venue of the crime months, or even years after their college careers have ended or been terminated, and they have "gone home." On the other hand, the psychiatric establishment, often represented by the college's own counseling services, may seek to terminate the student's academic career and return them to their parents' homes and their home states, ostensibly to undergo psychiatric treatment for drug use there, possibly to be committed to an appropriate psychiatric institution, whether public or private. Foreign governments may take as harsh or harsher view of drug use, and where their laws call for it, levy life sentences or even the death penalty in response to where drug smugglers have been detected and apprehended whatever their nationality. Should American nationals fall into foreign penal systems through having violated their drug laws, our government has no obligation to make an effort that could result in their being freed from the prisons of other nations.
Though the abuse of intoxicating substances first reached grave epidemic and endemic proportions in the Nineteenth Century, it today remains as serious a threat to the health and welfare of large segments of society as it was then or at any time since then. Though the chemical identities and effects of the prevailing intoxicants change (many times with the help of drug chemists who closely trail and chemically manipulate the substances abused), new vices, illnesses and patterns of drug-related criminality are created for and by each succeeding generation. While the age at which children are exposed to drugs, both inadvertently and to "hook" them appears to be falling rapidly in recent times, historians assure us that during the Nineteenth Century, such powerful intoxicants as gin and whiskey were sold to pre-adolescent children, at least in the slums of New York City. The techniques used to market illegal drugs are becoming ever more sophisticated, and the problem of drug abuse increasingly intractable. Drug users may expect a decreased life-expectancy, loss of reputation and ruined character, and those around them may expect to suffer indirect effects, not only through exposure to the substances used, but by reputation, drug related crimes, trouble at home, lost educational, economic and occupational opportunities, ruined or declined neighborhoods and housing, etc. As a result, society is being given the choice of spending billions to control the importation and distribution of CDS's, or that amount or more to repair the damage caused by the use and consumption of those same drugs.
More about AddictionEdit
There are several schools of thought concerning the cause and nature of drug addiction. The first uses the word exclusively for those substances which "take over" or subvert a physiological system of the body, and cause irresistible cravings. In addition to taking over the role of a naturally produced chemical, such as dopamine, deprivation of the substitute, (in the classic case, an opiate), must cause a serious sickness which the addict will want to avoid at all costs. With this school, the opiates are the model for addiction and opium, morphine and heroin are the classic addictive drugs. Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol are not considered addictive, since deprivation does not cause a serious withdrawal illness, but only cravings and minor sickness.
The second school of thought has all addictions and dependencies (and the dividing line is kept purposely vague) to be moral failings. That is, the addict or drug dependent person has simply made a choice, an evil one, and is using the addictive substance for whatever reasons or purposes he or she chooses, but usually for pleasure. This school gives primary importance to the human will, and recognizes or asserts the existence of good and evil, as well as man's ability to distinguish between good and evil.
The third school of thought has the addict suffering from a preexisting illness which predisposes the addict or substance dependent person to dependency or addiction. This illness may have its roots in the drug user's psychology, or may be caused by a personality defect (addictive or drug dependent personality). Either way, the addict's character is defective in some regard, and requires a substance, whether alcohol, opiates, cocaine, or other substances or drugs to "patch" it. Similarly, the illness of substance dependency or addiction may be caused by a genetic predisposition to succumb to addictions or dependencies of various sorts, depending upon the substance and the addict's genetic makeup. In this light, alcoholism has more recently come to be treated as a genetically caused illness rather than a moral failing, and research has focused on the presence or lack of substances in the alcoholic's body which might predispose him or her to alcoholism. The symptoms of drug-dependency as illness are cravings. These cravings may be caused by the inability of the drug or substance dependent person's body to produce a natural and necessary chemical which the drug or substance replaces with the effect of causing the dependent person or addict pleasurable sensations or relief from the cravings. Even when withdrawal is not a great problem, such as with caffeine, cravings may keep the user To the Toping to the use of caffeinated products.
Though society would never consider culture (society itself) as a cause of addiction, sociologists, particularly cultural relativists working with cultural norms and normative models of society might consider that addictions are a byproduct of or caused by culture. Where a substance is culturally accepted, and culturally regulated, its use is never considered addictive or a dependency problem, but rather a habit of consumption. Therefore, a quart of wine a day for a Frenchman in France is not a problem, where in the U.S., the same consumer would be considered either an alcoholic, substance dependent, or addicted to the use of alcohol. The same goes for the opiates, nicotine, caffeine and other potentially addictive substances. As long as the culture allows and determines the way and rate of consumption of the substance, there can be no addiction. Cultural norms preempt questions and matters of human physiology, economics and law. The main question that a drug or alcohol user must ask himself is, "Is my use of the substance within my culture's normative standards (expectations) for me?" The proponents of this viewpoint believe that all drugs should be legalized and acculturated, and that substances are made illegal (CDS's) by political "lobbyists" or special interest groups defending the interests of the producers and sellers of competitive "addictive" substances, with the underlying support of those who stand to make windfall profits selling the substance at black-market rates, as much as by those truly defending the public's health and welfare.
Habits of consumption are the most deeply ingrained of all cultural, if not human behavior. It is through habits of consumption that one group displaces or supplants another through the consumption of housing and land. Habits of consumption determine savings rates, choices of occupations and target incomes, whether or not a group or individual appears prosperous or poor, whether or not a group is able to replace or increase their numbers, and of course, whether the use of a substance is an addiction or dependency, or prescribed by society or culture. Any number of vital social appearances are determined by a cultural, political, racial, ethnic or social group's habits of consumption.To the Top
To the Top About the Dedication I had the honor of knowing Barbara Boggs Sigmund for thirty-five years. As the daughter of Hale Boggs, the Louisiana Representative to Congress who sponsored the legislation which classified marijuana as a dangerous drug, she suffered the stones and arrows hurled by the drug-using community as intensely as anyone. During those days, the years following the Sixties, the bitterness and acrimony directed in her direction was from some of the most educated people in America. College kids had learned to smoke marijuana in college, and their thoughts and attitudes were those of the leaders of succeeding generations, not poor Mexicans and blacks in inner cities. As the poster-boy of the anti-drug spot commercial of Richard Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign, I felt sympathy and shared pain at the attacks of the drug-users. I supported Barbara in her political career, and even registered as a Democrat, voting the ticket for every election save the one which contained Ronald Reagan, the most popular president ever. Barbara died before becoming the first woman governor of New Jersey. That honor was left to Christine Whitman. She bravely battled cancer, an extremely painful cancer that began in her eye, and spread from there. But she was a trooper to the end, and those who knew her will never forget her courage and fortitude in the many years that she held sway over the politics of Princeton Borough, that college town in the wilds of New Jer-see.
To the Top About the Author I grew up during the Sixties, that wild decade of drug use, an unending undeclared war, and economic growth the likes of which had never been seen before. I lent myself to the Republican campaign of Richard Nixon in 1968. Actually, the “shoot,” the pictures that I made for the anti-drug campaign, were done in 1966, and used in 1967-68. From there I “joined the Army.” My father, who was a noted Republican theoretician and political writer, as well as an expert in military matters, shipped me off to Europe, where I was educated in Middle Eastern matters and the containment theory of John Foster Dulles. The containment theory pertained to the containment of the Soviet Union, which was predicted to head for the Indian Ocean, sooner or later.
From Europe I the United States and Princeton, to face the Soviets in the town which hosted the largest pro-Soviet and Communist community in the country, most of whom were intellectual geniuses. That began a twenty year dialogue which was not completed until I stood from my work and breathed a sigh of relief, saying to myself, “Thank goodness, I won’t have to do that anymore.” It was the day after the news of the collapse of the Soviet Union reached the American news media. However, I was not able to leave Princeton until over ten years later. Then, with drug dealers screaming for my death (it had been spread around that I was a narc), I took the advice of the Princeton Police Department’s narcotics officer, and headed for Florida. I soon found that the part of Florida that I found myself in was a drug user’s and dealer’s paradise, even playing the role of “winter spot” for drug gang members from Northern cities. However, I was not known, so I lived pretty much unmolested while I figured out what to do next. What I decided to do, and this I had seen in dreams while living in Princeton, was to write an anti-drug e-book. This might fill a huge gap in the anti-drug movement, and also bring anti-drug forces up to par with drug users and dealers who are extremely skilled computer users, for what reason I have not yet concluded. Well, life is fraught with peril. Who knows what the consequences of this effort will be?