Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

*EDIT. Found a fanstastic website. If you're curious. Treat psychoactives with respect and awareness.

Drugs are a problem. But not the kind you're thinking. Nobody really knows what the hell is going on you are either in one of two camps. Either you’re a user, or you are scared to death over them.

I had a discussion with my mother about drugs, kind of a role reversal deal. I quizzed her on the why not, and what’s wrong etc. I got some interesting answers that I completely disagree with, but I expected them. My mom’s a pure and honest Afrikaans woman born in the late 50’s. I expect her knowledge about drug use to be about as far reaching as her ability to navigate an iPad. What bothered me was the conviction of her answers, it’s that almost religious fervor that comes from having an idea deeply imbedded in you from someone you trust. Not something that you know, from experience.

Not that I  would have preferred my mom to be a tik cooking wizard, but honestly a joint somewhere along the line wouldn’t have hurt. That’s pretty intense to say and I realized that as I typed it, but I stand by it. My mom believes that doing drugs will mean that you change as a person, you’ll lose your job, you’ll get every communicable disease known to man, you’ll probably go insane and ultimately this downward spiral will end with your untimely demise. Speaking of, a favorite story people tell is the guy who did acid and thought he could fly, so he jumped from a 10th story window. Good riddance, I'm inclined to agree with Bill Hicks: “if he thought he could fly, let him take off from the ground and check it out first. Fuck it. He's an idiot, he's dead. Good. You don't see ducks lining up to catch elevators to fly North do ya?” And it’s true, stupid people do stupid things, really stupid people… well, they make life difficult for the rest of us and are the reason everything has a warning label of some sort. Putting a blanket of blame over drugs is counter productive.

It’s the same kind of psycho peer pressure that is applied to vegetables, everybody hates broccoli. And I’d venture that a sizable portion of that dislike is born from being told how much it sucks, from everyone. Parents, teachers, friends even cartoon kids hate broccoli, and now we wonder why people are hesitant to change their eating habits, it’s hard to fight global consensus. Sure, there’s a bit of a separation between green veg and vegging out on pot, but I think the point is well made.

Too many people have this preacher stance about drugs and when pushed they recite facts, partially remembered from high school talks and doctor’s lounge pamphlets. Conversely, the drug crowd doesn’t do a great job in communicating openly, but they are generally less verbal because they don't want to be judged, or maybe they are just paranoid that you are a Narc. What’s the bottom line? good luck with trying to have a discussion that isn’t tainted by someone else’s opinion or misinformation.

Society hates drugs, well no, it’s hard to hate something that doesn’t really exist. But they hate the people who use drugs, those vile, dope smoking, pill popping, lower level, criminal underworld types that would shank your skinny ass for the coins in your back pocket just to get another hit of the sweet fumes, cooked over Bic lighters in tin foil teaspoons in dark alleys. It’s not even regular old disliking, it’s hard core hate and disgust, like racism, class-ism, well generally any -ism. The kind of hate that’s been fed to you, it’s something you are taught, meticulously, over and over again until you forget that there even was an alternative to start with. There’s another word for that kind of convincing but the cold war is over and sleeper agents are really so 90’s.

Society does this hypocritical hating, while sitting in little groups at bars, smashing tequila and overdosing on crates of imported beer while double dosing on prescription medication; and still… from the little bar stools of high-horsery they pass judgment. My favorite reality television host is hopelessly addicted to Vicodin, but he’s not hated, there's a fan club.

One day alcohol too will be illegal, fuck knows it kills enough people, oh wait, we’ve been there, that worked so well last time. Is it just another case of people blaming something else for making stupid decisions and not raising their kids well enough to make good decisions? Better we take the decisions away, yes, now I feel safe. Hey! What’s on TV?

Trying to stop drugs by raiding high schools and sending kids to jail is about as effective as grinding aspiring into your ear canal to solve a headache, all the words are there, they are just in the wrong order.

Some quick thoughts. Not all drugs are created equally, let's just get that out of the way. There is a vast and irreconcilable difference between something that was created in a laboratory by a team of Phds and something that grows naturally in your backyard, without you probably ever noticing. There is no law against eating apple seeds, even though if you had a whole bunch they could kill you. Nor with any other poisonous plant, people generally assume that it goes without saying. Grouping drugs into one massive pile of badness is lazy and sends the wrong messages. Taking a palm full of temazepam is going to give a far less pleasant experience than a palmful of weed. Learn the differences and be specific.

Quick thought, unregulated drugs are worse than regulated drugs. Let’s face it, if people want something badly enough. They will get it, whether it’s an unreleased game, product, whatever their hearts desire. Piracy is big. We do what we can to stop the spread of the “disease”, but it is always treat the symptoms not the cause kind of thinking that’s applied. Sopa was a miserable failure, and not the first attempt to “help”. The prohibition was probably the longest running example. Thousands of people died and went blind from bathtub whiskeys, and it gave us the mob. Today, alcohol is a fricken cash cow, it’s unfathomable how much money is spent and made on even a single brand of beer in a single day. But it’s ok, because we regulate it. Have some beer, hell, get trashed. You know it’ll make you dance like a dork, feel great while doing it, whatever, you just go have a good time. Remember that it’ll seriously mess up your minor motor skills and reaction times – so best you not drive ok? We’re not totally stupid, so if you do we’re going to test you for it and then you’re going to be in trouble because you now put other people’s lives at risk and we can’t have that.

Because drugs are illegal, they have to be farmed, manufactured and transported under the radar of the government. This means no quality control, no price regulation, no work unions and no fair competition. You have to bribe and rely on corruption to even have it enter the country. Here's a drug related story for you to illustrate the point:

Let's say Arthur has some crack to sell, he's been selling it for years and has established a rather regular crowd of repeat customers. One day McPusher starts selling down the street from his and promptly starts stealing some of the regulars. It's hard not to see why, his product is better packaged, his service  representatives are courteous and well dressed, his corner is more accessible and he allows for drive-through purchases - absolutely stellar business model. Arthur wouldn't really need to go to his factory and call a meeting of the board to rethink his business strategy or packaging to remedy this, instead he broadcast messages his five roughest employees, marches over to McPusher's place of business and you gently revoke his license to sell with a semi-automatic pistol. Bullets are cheaper than marketing.

If you are a single mom working for said business man and you are tasked with working all weekend, missing your kid’s soccer game, you can’t really go complaining to the department of labour about the unreasonable hours at the crack den. Neither can you claim workman’s compensation for inhaling all the fumes through a rolled up t-shirt, nor will you be able to apply for unemployment when your employer inevitably “goes out of business”.

The consumer suffers too, they don’t know what’s in their little rolled up package. Lots of things are white and powdery and it could just as well be washing powder cut with anthrax for all they know. The only trip that would be good for is one to the morgue, and then to add to the little statistics on those pamphlets people misquote from the doctor’s lounge. There’s no 0800 number, no complaints department, no customer care, no SABS. If you went to the police to complain about bad drugs, you'd go to jail for possession. A lot of people die needlessly from this crap. In fact, people are so scared to admit that they did drugs that they lie on the admittance forms when their friends overdose, it’s retarded.

There are some big movements to try and fix this crap, moms camping outside nightclubs handing out clean needles (Hepatitis A, B, C and Aids all kill a hell of a lot more people than exstacy and heroine), they aren’t even trying to change people’s minds, just trying to make it easier to be responsible. Hahaha, responsible drug addicts, there’s a thought. Realistically it will never change until governments suck it up and realize that taking part in the regulation and education will save a lot more lives in the long run than publishing stupid victory articles about the amount of weed they kept off the street this week. Yay! Look at all those tightly wrapped packages! Hmmm, but now the supply chain has broken down so the dealer on the street will have to make his stash last longer leading to more washing powder overdose deaths. Oh well, at least that drug police guy is looking happy. He probably never had a joint either.

Until 1961 it was a criminal offense to commit suicide in England, one which carries the death penalty. (Don’t know if that’s irony or if they just want to help you finish the job) It’s not fighting the problems, just putting the threat of punishment into people who would think about it. Honestly, if someone is thinking about killing themselves I don’t think the threat of the death would dissuade them. Anyway, more important would have been to ask why do people get so violently unhappy with their lives that they would rather kill themselves than suck another molecule of oxygen through their nostrils? Answer that and set up a system to help. But suicide is an intangible thought all the way through until it isn’t. Drugs aren’t. They exist in the real world as powders, pills, and plants. But finding and destroying them is not a battle that can be won, people will huff glue when they run out of the good stuff. Same thing, find the causes, I guarantee you no-one ever overdosed just to spite someone else. And no-one kept doing drugs just because they wanted to piss their parents off. Until then, stop lying to your kids. Half truths are lying, omission is lying, especially in this case. And take that stupid air of superiority off your face when you talk about drugs, everyone is uninformed and just because a guy overdosed in the school next to yours, that doesn’t make you an expert.

Face that what you’re teaching your children might not be true and keeping them in line with fear only works so long. Even the most timid 5 year old grows a pair after a while and "being scared" stops being an excuse not to do something. And they will believe your godlike presence just because you are their parent, at least until they go to a music festival or club and get offered something by somebody they like and trust. Someone who isn't forcing them into it, and who has answers that aren't threats of insanity and homelessness. At some stage they will figure out just how full of shit you were and by then all the other nice life lessons will go flying out the window as well.

Honestly, South Park does a better job at drug education than parents.

No comments: