FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #37: “The Decriminalization of Drugs. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 26th, 2010

Like Father like Daughter – Even after You’ve Quit Drugs and Gone Conservative

It was about the 7th grade when kids I knew were getting into drugs.  I can remember being at a McDonald’s once after a high school football game (I went to that game with my brother and his friends).  Some of my 7th grade classmates were there.  When one saw me he pulled a joint out of his jacket and waved it in front of me, saying, “Do you want a doobie?”  He was an old friend.  He became a burn out.  I didn’t.  So he made fun of me in front of his new stoner friends.  Incidentally, a couple of these stoner friends are now dead.

One of those guys was a pretty good friend of mine.  I turned him on to Monty Python.  He could do all the voices.  And the skits.  Had them all memorized.  Funny guy.  He became a stoner in high school.  He tried to get high off whatever he could.  He came to school with a busted lip once.  His father punched him.  When he caught him sniffing gasoline in the garage.  His father tried to help him.  Knock some sense into him.  Maybe he did.  For when he died in a car crash (he was doing something like 80 on a 35 mph street and tried to pass someone.  Clipped the guy’s rear bumper and flipped his car over and over again), he wasn’t driving stoned.  He was driving drunk.

I once worked with a guy who was a reformed burn out.  He was a hardcore stoner in middle school.  Skipped a lot of school to get high.  Then he had a kid when he was in the 11th grade.  He then quit school, quit drugs and pumped gas.  Changed his life.  He became super dad.  He was a conservative and father of 5 when I met him.  Sometimes when he was talking to you he’d stop in mid-sentence, lost.  He’d then laugh and say something about all those lost brain cells he’d like to have back.  He had dreams of sending his daughter (an honor student) to that conservative college in Michigan.  Hillsdale College.  He wasn’t happy that she wanted to go to a party school instead.  But, at least, she was going to college.  And she did.  Until she got pregnant.  And dropped out.  Like father like daughter.  Well, sort of.

Sex, Drugs and Hip Hop – ‘Cool’ Equity for the Responsible Drug User

Once upon a time it was sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Now it’s probably a little more hip hop than rock and roll.  But it’s still the same.  Young kids engage in risky behavior.  They don’t practice prudence in their choices.  For them, it’s all about the id.  The pursuit of pleasure.  And the avoidance of things unpleasant.  In other words, childlike behavior.  Even though we should know better.  Pleasure now.  Pain never.  We’re only here for a short time.  And it would be a shame that if you died young you didn’t have a lot of pleasure first.

A lot of kids get pleasure from getting high.  Drugs are a part of sex, drugs and hip hop, remember.  Not only is it fun, but it says cool all over it.  Rebellious.  You get some ‘cool’ equity with the ‘in crown’.  Until someone dies.  But after a suitable period of mourning, life goes on.  I mean, the kid who dies, why, they were just stupid.  Those who say that will say it can’t happen to them.  Because they get high responsibly. 

But there are addictions.  And there are fatal overdoses.  There’s AIDS passed via shared needles.  Heart attacks from cocaine rushes.  Neglected children as a parent gets high in the next room.  Violent crime by someone whacked out on PCP who can feel no pain.  Organ failure (we exclude drug addicts from transplant lists because their drug use will only kill their new transplants, too).  Broken marriages.  Lost families.  Dead children.  Ruined careers.  Stroke.  Diminished motor functions.  Etc.  Of course, these people all wanted these things to happen.  Because all drug users who haven’t yet had these things happen to them say these things never will for they are responsible drug users.  And as my daughter often says, “Yeah, whatever.”  The carnage of drug abuse begs to differ with the responsible users.  There is a social cost to drug use.  And it’s a pretty hefty price at that.

Sex and Drugs Make Happy Pimps

Not yet mentioned are the costs we incur because of the illegality of drugs.  Victim crimes.  And, of course, victimless crimes.  When something is illegal, it becomes expensive.  Very, very expensive.  And one of the downsides of being an addict compounds the problem of trying to pay for these expensive drugs.  Drug addicts have erratic lives.  They live from high to high.  Which doesn’t mesh well with an 8-hour work day.  Some can.  For awhile.  But eventually the addiction takes control and they lose their jobs.  So, to support their habits, some become thieves.  Do a little breaking and entering.  A little pock picking.  A little car jacking.  Eventually ending up in jail for the same reasons they can’t get regular work.  The addiction takes control.  And they make dumb mistakes.  And get caught.

And then there are those who are not stealing but selling.  Sexual favors.  Desperate for their next fix, they walk the streets looking for a john.  The pain of withdrawal will make them take great risks.  Some johns may beat them up.  Rob them (for what little they may have).  Kill them.  They may receive a sexually transmitted disease.  Or pass one on.  They may get pimped out buy someone who pays them in their drug fixes.  Until they’re no longer marketable.   In which case their pimp may throw them back onto the street.  Or worse.  And if she dies?  So what.  There are always more where she came from.  Sex and drugs.  What pimp could ask for anything more?

Addiction is a powerful thing.  People will do things they never thought they would for their next fix.  Combine that with the illegality of drugs and it’s a very profitable enterprise.  Not for the uses.  But for the dealers.  Who get a very high price for their product.  And an addicted customer that must keep buying. 

John Lennon and Nancy Reagan May Have Agreed to ‘Just Say No’

America’s southern border is bleeding.  The U.S. demand for illegal drugs is a coveted market.  And drug gangs are very protective of their territory.  Drug violence is appalling.  Much like it was in the days of Al Capone during Prohibition.  Even worse.  In Capone’s day, they may have sent a message to a cop by shooting him.  Today they behead a cop and send the severed head back to police headquarters to get their message across.  And the violence is spilling over into civilian life near the border.  Kidnapping.  Ransoms.  Murders.  It’s so bad that the federal government has posted signs on American soil advising Americans that they are not safe on that American soil.

So there are two sides of the decriminalization of drugs coin.  The one is the social costs of drug use.  They’re illegal now and the social costs are staggering.  Decriminalizing drugs is not likely to reduce addiction and all that comes with it.  On the other hand, illegal drugs are expensive which makes addiction that much more costly.  Which makes some users resort to crime to support their habits.  And it empowers drug gangs.  It would appear neither choice is very appealing.

Of course, there is one option that would get rid of both problems.  Like Nancy Reagan said.  Just say ‘no’.  And if people just said ‘no’, that lucrative U.S. market would disappear.  No addiction.  No drug wars.  Imagine that.  A world in which there were no drugs to kill or die for.  Even John Lennon, a recovered heroin addict and peacenik, could appreciate that.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,