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The demonisation of drugs started during the Vietnam War. At least this is what modern history will tell you. The US administration of the time, headed by our good friend Tricky Dicky Nixon, was a little worried by the emergence of the hippy movement and its love of a good trip or a simple high. Uncomfortable questions were being asked by the younger generations, such as:

“Why are we fighting a war in Vietnam? Why are we there at all?”

Of course, similar questions have been asked about Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Cuba and other such questionable ‘interventions’ over the years. Conspiracy theories around this topic abound. But that is not our focus here. Our focus here is on the effects that drugs have on the individual and on society as a whole: our love-hate relationship with them.

Drugs have been used by people for a millenia. From natural painkillers and sedatives to, mystical psychedelics that contained the so-called God-particle, DMT we’ve ingested everything we could safely lay our hands on. We still do. Except it is harder to lay our hands on some of these drugs today. But where there is a will, there is usually a way. People are ingenious when they need to be.

Are there moral or economic questions that need to be asked about drugs? Like:

  • Who has the right to stop one person from doing (to themselves) what they want?
  • What price does society have to pay for drug use/addiction?
  • Who is profiting from the misery of addiction?
  • Why did big pharma start an opioid epidemic in the US?
  • Who allowed them to?

So, as you can see – ‘drugs’ can mean ‘illegal’ drugs such as heroin, or ‘prescription’ drugs such as Oxycontin. They can also be ‘legal’ drugs, such as alcohol or tobacco.

Boiling this down to a more easily ingested concoction, I would argue that many things can be classified as a drug.

Essentially a drug is something that can elicit changes in the mental or physical health and/or wellbeing of a human being. They can make you better, if you are ill, make you ill if you are healthy, remove bad memories, create new ones, offer a window of escape or a prison cell of the body and mind.

Drugs are basically how we change what/who we are, how we feel, think and act.

The basic question, then, is why do we need them? Is it because of ourselves, society, government… what makes us want to escape the reality of our world? Is it THAT bad?

Drug use and abuse is largely a result of the psycho-social and economic impacts of everyday life on the individual.

There are a plethora of studies that go into the mechanics of addiction. There are people that are more prone to addiction and excess than others. 

So why do so many people need to escape reality?

Once we look at the individual we should, perhaps, look at personality type, upbringing, social class, education and so on. Yes – it can  be a combination of factors – but it is in response to one thing: modern life. 

The individual no longer matters. We have been wedged into a mould created by commerce, religion and politics. One-size fits all.

Well excuse me, it does not.

We are beginning to see the gut-brain connection as a link to how we act and interact with others. With the wrong balance of neurological chemicals we don’t function properly – or at least in the sense of the word proper from a societal perspective.

The wrong gut bacteria, the wrong address, the wrong attitude, the wrong time. 

We take drugs because we are different – and because the world expects us not to be. We take drugs because we feel we need to take them to escape or survive. Who can blame us?

So, the question is not whether drugs are good or bad – rather why are they necessary in the first place? The answer is, perhaps, quite simple:

The world today sucks for most people.

Photo by GRAS GRÜN on Unsplash

There is no room for the individual, the different, the creative, the challenged, the old or infirm.

We are ‘consumers’. We are no longer people or individuals. We are corporate goals, personified. We are Frankenstein and the Monster. We are Jekyll and Hyde.

Have you asked yourself why cannabis is being legalised around the globe right now?

The answer to this is worth looking for. The consumers are getting agitated. Big changes are coming. It’s better to sedate the people that to free them, as there is no profit in that.

And therein lies the problem. 

A population without work, without hope, but with drugs. But you should ask yourself -– who exactly are the drugs for? Who do they benefit?

The Future of Drugs is bright. That of humanity, not so much. Now, light that spliff, eat those shrooms and get happy, spiritual and accepting. The ship is sinking, the band plays on. The lifeboats have been given to the first class passengers. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

Ask not what drugs can do for you – ask why they want you to take them.

TS O’Rourke

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