Mind Altering

Mind Altering
Posted by FoM on October 23, 1999 at 17:16:36 PT
Source: Calgary Herald 
An attack made by a respected U.S. think tank on the war against illicit drugs should concern Canadians for its ideas are by no means parochial, having surfaced in cities with major drug problems like Vancouver. 
What is so alarming is that the National Association for Public Health Policy advocates a surrender of sorts to the culture of illicit drugs. It doesn't exactly take a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em," position, but rather a "if you can't beat 'em, manage 'em" plan for living with that culture. Aspects of the plan such as decriminalization of marijuana and the supplying of clean needles to heroin addicts are contentious topics, if not new ones, in metropolitan Canada. There are additional proposals, however, contained in the association's report that if implemented would weaken a bottom line in society which must be maintained for the health of that society. For example, the report suggests the promotion of the oxymoronic "responsible drug use" in school education programs. Contending the emphasis on prohibition is flawed and deleterious to children's health, the report takes a safe-sex approach to the issue and urges schools to encourage safe drug use. The report also alleges the war on drugs is a racist one since a large number of those caught in drug dragnets are black and that just as Prohibition fostered organized crime and corruption, the illicit status of drugs creates more crime. When drug use is managed, it will still create crime, of course. The difference is that crime will have been redefined out of existence so the statisticians will be unable to document it as such. Those who argue that tobacco and alcohol use has been successfully managed ignore the crucial differences between those substances and illicit drugs. Tobacco is not mind-altering and alcohol can be safely used in moderate quantities, with sanctions in place regarding behaviours such as drunk driving. Illicit drugs cannot be used moderately. They are always mind-altering. The effects of one glass of wine with dinner in no way compare to those of one shot of heroin. The war on drugs should never be about giving in because then the message to society -- and particularly the impressionable children of that society -- is that government will back down if you can marshal and maintain a large enough number of people to do the crime. A healthy society must function on certain basic absolutes if it is to keep from dissolving into chaos. One of those bedrock absolutes must define what will and will not be tolerated for the common good. The pervasive use of illicit drugs contributes nothing to the common good and in fact causes it irreparable harm. Drugs are destructive and the cost to society from their use is tremendous. The epidemic of crack babies in the U.S. is a poignant and tragic case in point. Giving official sanction to the ironic notion of managed, safe drug use will not change that terrible, destructive influence one whit. Saturday 23 October 1999 Copyright  1999 Calgary Herald New Media 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #8 posted by agree-er on May 07, 2001 at 21:58:15 PT
about all this
It's good to see that I'm not alone in my beliefs.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on October 24, 1999 at 17:34:13 PT
Score another for rationality
Observer, I couldn't have said it better. But entirely too many people have been seduced by Statism (like the editor above) to ever reach that conclusion. I am afraid - truly afraid - that it will take something like full-blown tyranny to wake people up to what is happening here. And then it will take bloodshed to get back what could have been taken back at the cost of throwing a voting machine lever. I've said it here plenty of times; we are not immune from the forces of history. Government encroaching on liberties, bureaucrats making policy, police acting like the very thugs they are supposed to curtail... it has all happened before, in other countries. It's happening here, now. Unless we get active.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by observer on October 24, 1999 at 11:17:08 PT
Anti-democratic Tone
''The war on drugs should never be about giving in because then the message to society -- and particularlythe impressionable children of that society -- is that government will back down if you can marshal andmaintain a large enough number of people to do the crime. ''Uh ... I hate to rain on this editor's parade, but that's the way democracy and representative government work. Especially when the said "crime" is only a 'crime' because government defined it to be so, and only recently at that. We're not talking about repealing the laws against murdering people. (Though prohibitionists are forever making that specious comparison.) When enough people want to change a law -- which includes repeal of odious laws, as well as making weak laws more harsh, then in a free nation, it may be done. (Note that making drug laws MORE harsh never seems to bother such editors: different standards...)Also, who gets to decide which "message" is sent to "children" given this or that law? (What a pathetic and flimsy lie for an otherwise naked power grab: "the message to the children"). And who ever decided that adults are to be incarcerated (property stolen/shot/etc.) due to some politically-inspired, recently discovered "message to the kids", anyway? ''.. is that government will back down if you can marshal and maintain a large enough number of people to do the crime. ''How absurd. Only one who believes that his reified "government" is above/distinct from/opposed to the "people" could even pit the two against one another in a sentence! Anti-democratic, authoritarian thinking to the core.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by DontArrestMe on October 24, 1999 at 09:05:48 PT
Mind Altering Huh?
"Tobacco is not mind-altering and alcohol can be safely used in moderate quantities, with sanctions in place regarding behaviours such as drunk driving. Illicit drugs cannot be used moderately"Well first get your facts straight. Alcohol and tobacco are both mind altering and both heavily abused. Try this definition of drug abuse. You know that cigarettes are going to kill you eventually; the warnings on them are mandatory. You keep smoking, now 2 packs a day. You are cranky when you can't smoke, and you have developed quite a chronic cough. Oh no, that is not abuse. You drink a 6 pack every day that you come home, it is legal. You eventually develop cirrhosis of the liver despite the doctor's warning that you should stop drinking. You barely take care of your family. There isn't a law against drunkeness in the privacy of your home or even at a bar. You can smoke untill you die; your second hand smoke may kill those who are around you the most. You cannot smoke pot in the privacy of your home despite the fact that you are probably not going to die from it, nor anyone who is around you. I am all for the sanctions on drunk driving being extended to pot, but obviously he is not. As for being unable to moderately use illicit drugs, how many casual cigarette smokers do you know? Researchers will agree that the addictiveness of nicotine prevents use in moderation. I don't know many people who smoke 40 joints a day. Hence the term moderation. Wait, I just thought of something. This journalist sounds an awful lot like the Almighty drug czar. Objectivity is admirable in a subject area where whoever tells the best lies wins the vote of the masses.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on October 23, 1999 at 20:09:27 PT
Oxymorons... and the common garden variety type
Oxymorons, eh? How's this one for you: objective journalist? Particularly the kind who parrots common anti-drug blather as this one did, without recognizing one major point: alcohol and nicotine are drugs, too. As someone who has seen the ravages of chemotherapy on someone I cared for deeply, I will never understand the shallowness of the kind of arguments put forward above. To utilize a (once legal) common herb to alleviate suffering is no different than downing a pill. Both achieve the same effects... just that, if cannabis were legal, the price would be much lower than the pharmaceutical, and you could produce your own. The problem here, as usual, is one of perception. The perception has to do with the supposition, expected to be accepted as 'common knowledge', that alcohol and nicotine are *not* drugs. And therefore, those who use - and are addicted to and abuse- them are not drug users or (gasp!) DRUG ADDICTS. DRUG ADDICTS are not nice people like them, no. But, I ask, why are these substances used at all? They certainly have no nutritional value.They are used for exactly the same reason they have always been used... because they alter your consciousness. Because the active ingredients make you feel good at the time of usage.If anyone doubts that nicotine is not a mind-altering substance, just look at someone in the throws of a nicotine fit when deprived of their drug, and then look at them after they've had their 'fix'. Tell me they've not experienced an alteration of consciousness!The same is true, and far more obvious, with alcohol. But the consumers of such drugs become quite angry with you when you point out such glaringly obvious points to them. THEY aren't DRUG USERS.Drugs are drugs, whether society says they are or not. If you are careful and responsible in your usage of them, then society should have no gripe with you. And those who believe themselves free from the opprobrium they heap on others because their particular drug is legal and a drug another favors is not should have a care; in government, today's virtue can become tomorrows' vice.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 23, 1999 at 19:20:13 PT:
Mind Altering
Let me see what I can think of that is mind altering and legal. Tobacco is mind altering. It is a stimulant. Alcohol is also an instant mind altering substance. Coffee is too. Sugar is mind altering. Many drugs that can be purchased over the counter have mind altering properties. I don't even need to mention drugs such as Prozac or Ritalin but why are they excluded? That is what I want to know. It isn't an issue what is or isn't mind altering, it is about controlling the masses and money.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by Liberty on October 23, 1999 at 18:36:37 PT:
We all agree drug abuse is a bad thing. I don't beleave you think alcohol isn,t a mind altering drug. To many it might not serve as that tipe of drug,but to many it is. Beleave it or not there are many responsiable drug users,yes and some of them get carried away while some don,t just like leagle drug users. 250,000 + deaths ayear in america are directly caused by alcohol,not counting car accidents.There is a difference between use and abuse.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by freedom fighter on October 23, 1999 at 18:02:19 PT
the other point of view
What about the basic freedom of choice or the basic right of each individual of self determination? Or are these just meaningless words designed to maintain the illusion of freedom but not the reality?These principles are more important than any problem we face with illegal drugs. 
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: