Do you ever feel like we are be cheated re drugs?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by SuZir, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Not trying to be controversial, nor am I in any way denying substance abuse has destroyed many lives, but I'm becoming rather jaded with drug policies and what we are told about drugs.

    Where I live drug use is less common than in most western world and it was even less common when I was young. My mom however was a regular pot smoker so I was more aware than most of my peers. In their infinite wisdom our school officials decided to launch anti-drug-campain that was based mostly on lies and exaggerations. I can still vividly remember sitting in the gym with whole school when some guest speaker, who told us he was a recovering druggie, was giving us his drugologue, or very edited version of it, and told us, how he was extremely physically hooked, and absolutely needed his second shot from the moment he tried pot first time. And he actually even uttered a line that has become a classic of bad drug education in my country: "The first injection of cannabis can kill you!" By the way, at the same time our schools were very good at sex ed; made us so bored with the subject, and sure we knew all the facts, that we were not at all inclined to try ourselves before we were much older, but for some reason decided to go to exact opposite direction with drug education. Okay, schools have learnt from their mistakes and drug education for example for my kids has been much better already.

    But we are still told it is the drugs. Or mostly the illegal drugs or at the most legal drugs taken without prescription. That drugs do this or that. That everything changes when you take this illegal drug, you change, no going back. Drugs are the great evil.

    In my country heroin was over the counter medicine, and widely used for many small ailments, before WW2. For pain, for cough etc. Tylenol of it's time. Stable of every family drug cabinets. Most people used it at times, extremely few got hooked. My grandpa, and many people he knew, used amphetamine during the WW2 often, at times daily. He or none of his friends got hooked. Statistics show the same, some got hooked, but vast majority had absolutely no problem dropping the drug.

    Currently, aside of pot, the most abused drugs around here are prescription drugs, benzoes being the biggest group and cause of almost all drug abuse related deaths. Also drugs like Lyrica are very popular among druggies if benzoes are not available. Actual illegal drugs, aside of pot, make a very small percent of our drug abuse scene. No one has for example died to heroin overdose in years and heroin all together is almost extinct from our markets. Addicts inject other opioids exclusively. Opioids that are manufactured by big pharma. Amphetamines are still here, because doctors are very reluctant to give out ADHD medications to anyone. If they would, druggies would most likely move to those drugs instead of street amphetamine.

    Lots of people, who have legitimate reason to use those same medications that are abused, have to take them so much and so long that they too do get physically dependant and often also psychologically. Somehow, when their condition allows them to, doctors are able to wean them out of those same drugs. Most of the time successfully and with little fuss. How come those same methods could not work for those people, who are taking them illegally but want to quit? Why does it need to be a big difference between two people who are using same amount of Lyrica for example?

    Portugal decriminalised use of all drugs 15 years ago, even the hard ones. The drug related harm went significantly down, use of them didn't go up at all. There are much less drug abusers nowadays there than in other European countries.

    It just feels we are told something that may not be even totally true and that certainly isn't practical or cost effective.
  2. Sam3

    Sam3 Active Member

    I've been thinking about this issue a lot, as a medical marijuana license in California is easier to get than a box of decongestant. I have also read a little about the Portugal experience since about 2000. My understanding is that there, there was almost a dollar for dollar redirection of public funds away from the crimimal justice system and into prevention, and harm reduction and rehabilitation programs for addicts. So, there's been a huge increase in methadone or equivalent maintenance recipients, and I'm not sure what side of the ledger they fall. But in any case, it's difficult to isolate the impact of decriminalization on those statistics. (And drugs aren't actually legal in Portugal, it's just that drug offenses send you into the new system of government response, rather than jail.). But assuming that an evolved drug policy like Portugal's is a good thing for addicts, and the cost of addiction to society, anecdotally, I think there must be early victims of a freer drug market, even if over a 15 year period the stats even out. It feels like my children are smack dab in the middle of this vulnerable period that I'm speculating about. I would imagine as readily available medical grade marijuana becomes the new norm, kids will calm down about it, but for now, the little blue vials seem like rock and roll was to kids from the 50s.
  3. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    In the US, kids are much more influenced by their peers than anything the schools have to say,(in my opinion).

    Pop culture, movies, music also influences our kids.
  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    That is true everywhere. But when you are lied by the school, it causes quite a backlash as those early drug educators learnt. Kids at my days didn't believe a word about anything said about drugs at school after they lied to us. And around that time also pop culture, movies etc. tended to be rather moralistic and black and white when it came to drugs (what they actually used was another business, but PR was still clean), but it didn't stop us trying this and that. I'm a kid of "Just say no!"-time after all.

    Sex ed was effective, because there was so much of it and it took away all the excitement of the topic. After you spend three hours of putting and re-putting a condom on banana and have your eleventh quizzes about symptoms of condyloma, difference between frotteurism and toucherism and smallest details of reproductive organs, I can guarantee all excitement has vanished. And your biology teacher in her fifties after all that telling you to remember that sex can be fun and important part of adult life quality is enough to make almost anyone to consider celibate as legitimate way of life for rest of your life, when you are 13, 14 or 15. Drug education did the opposite.

    But that of course was just communication failure in our system. But I'm starting to wonder, if this whole policy adopted against drugs half of the century ago was actually an error too. And in my country it was in fact decided by flipping a coin. Too very different drug policies got same amount of votes in parliament and flip of the coin decided that we were to pursue the criminalisation route.

    Drug addiction destroys lives, that is without question. But have our drug policies also failed us? And are we even now given truth about the problem and costs our policies have had on us?

    For example to me it feel more than slightly immoral that big pharmaceutics companies are making huge profits by manufacturing and selling huge amounts of drugs for addicts to abuse. And at the same time someone selling just a few of those same pills forward ending up to jail for it.
  5. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    My drug education in school consisted of watching a movie titled "Refer Madness". It was made in the 50's and still being shown in the 70's. Look it up on you tube. We were laughing our @$$#$ off.
  6. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    My step-sons went through the Dare program.

    Oldest said it made him an expert in all things drug-related and made him want to use them.

    Youngest went through the same program and has never had any desire for drugs.
  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    My feeling is that drug education, like sex education has to be honest and factual to be effective. So I agree that scare tactics as a method to scare kids off drugs doesnt work. I mean telling kids one smoke of pot and you are done... will have a backlash once the kid tries it and finds that in fact is not true so then they wont believe anything they are told about drugs.

    I do think the key to dealing with drug issues is to have services in place for treatment.... and without that it doesntn really matter what we do.
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Available treatment is also one thing I have been thinking. To me it feels that too much of treatment is 'one size fits all'-type and assuming all addicts and all drugs are the same.

    It feels that for example in-patient treatment is likely not even best but at least not most cost-effective way to treat a person, who thinks they are nowadays smoking too much pot or who has been using ecstasy every Saturday and have lost control of their behaviour because of that but who does not use other drugs. On the other hand with some drugs there are other drugs that make getting rid of them easier. And if addict has co-morbid mental health issues just focusing on addiction doesn't help much.

    And person who just wants to get their head messed up (typical addict around here, uses benzoes, some opioids, if gets them, some ecstasy, some amphetamine, some other psychoactive common drugs like muscle relaxants and definitely alcohol and pot and mixes them all) most likely needs little different treatment than person, who has first had legitimate reason to use some psychoactive drug, but has started to use more than they should and are now hooked to that one drug and use it differently than prescribed.

    It feels that somehow our drug policies (even around here, where as I said vast majority of abused drugs are actual medicines) make a huge difference between illegal drugs and other substances that also have legal use even though those substances are not so different from each other. And somehow it is thought that an addict is an addict, a druggie is a druggie and they are all the same, when the reality is much more complex.
  9. Tired and Hopeful

    Tired and Hopeful New Member

    My geographic area is full of mid-life prescription drug and pot users. Seems to me the way to turn the kids off is to have them deal with a few of these folks (we have rental properties). Their thinking skills are way off...the part of the brain that organizes thoughts and directs actions must be broken. They do not know how to budget or have many basic life skills. Saw this in my own child, so I am not likely to jump on the bandwagon of pot is okay. After a bit of experience with that she broadened out to nearly every drug she could find, including meth. I certainly do not know the answers, but it seems to me that long term drug use of any kind (or short term during the formative years), just short-circuits the brain in a scary way that truly affects the outcome of life for many. I wish our brilliant scientists could come up with some answers.
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I will use this opportunity to rant against the medically sanctioned use of marijuana in my state.

    In theory I have been for legalization of drugs. A la the Portugal model about I know little.

    My thinking is this: I think that everything is market driven. If drugs are legalized and monitored, it could be done in such a way that the money making factor is reduced. That way the drugs would be safer and money used for drug enforcement would be diverted to treatment.

    Medical marijuana is big business. The idea that marijuana is benign is patently untrue, in my opinion. The marijuana of today is very powerful. I believe it is a gateway drug. I believe that putting a medically sanctioned label is deceptive and harmful.

    My son has such a card. It is a complete sham. He jabbers on about the medical properties...etc. I think it is nonsense, shameful nonsense.

    Everything in this country (USA) is driven by money. There is an economic reason that drugs have not been legalized here.

    The worst possible outcome would be if pharmaceutical companies and the government became the drivers. I seem to be arguing against myself, here.

    Honestly, I do not have a solution. Until the governmental forces make responsible decisions based upon the public good, I do not have an idea what option might be an improvement here. Everything seems to be corrupted by the dollar, eventually. Cynical, I do not think so.
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I never received drug education in school, back then drugs were not an issue. I am very conflicted with the legalization of pot and we have it on the ballot in my state in Nov. But I will say I saw firsthand what it did to my daughter. From the very beginning she started and could not stop. I am not saying it was a physical addiction but I am saying there was something about it that made her feel so good she did it 24/7, to the point where she almost did not graduate and lost jobs and stole from us to get money to buy it. It completely controlled her and all she did was sleep and eat and smoke and have sex.

    My only hope now it that she has had enough years of holding jobs and understanding that she has responsibilities that if she uses it again when it is legal that she is able to do it responsibly. Am I confident about that? Not in the least.