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Topic of the Week -- Drugs - SPK Live
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spk1121
spk1121
Steve K
Mon, Jul. 12th, 2004 12:07 pm
Topic of the Week -- Drugs

DRUGS

How does society view drugs?  How should we view drugs?  Is recreational drug use an acceptable practice?  Should there be limitations placed on access?  Are some substances acceptable while others are not?  Should drug users be considered criminals or candidates for rehabilitation?

Any thoughts, pro or con?

OTHER TOPICS

STEM CELL RESEARCH - July 6, 2004

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11CommentReply

spk1121
spk1121
Steve K
Mon, Jul. 12th, 2004 10:48 am (UTC)
spk1121's opinion

Some people may be surprised by this, but I am actually quite far to the left on this issue. I believe that a man's home is his castle (which is actually traditionally a conservative viewpoint), and that what you do in the privacy of your own house is your business. As such, recreational drug use does not do harm to the greater community. If violence is a result of drug use, I think that should be treated like any other form of abuse. The victim(s) should receive aid and authorities should be called upon to act accordingly. Along those lines, once a person leaves their house (or even a bar/club) under the influence, THEN it becomes a societal problem! That's why I am often in favor of harsh penalities for drunk driving. However, I do not believe drugs (or alcohol) should be banned outright simply because of what might happen. Consequences should be meted out depending on the choices people make, not theoretical badness.

I believe that it is the church's (or other spiritual/ethical groups) job to define whether or not drug use is acceptable. Some churches frown on drinking, others do not. This is the same issue. It's all so arbitrary anyway, that's what gets me. Cigarettes are known to be lethal and are legal, while marijuana has medicinal properties and is banned. Even caffine was banned for a time in this country! What would millions of people do without Starbucks to give them a jolt? Yet an alternative history could have had Starbucks serving as modern-day speakeasies.

Prohibition showed us that people are going to get these substances by whatever means necessary, so we should control the flow rather than fight it. If we did, we could price and tax these drugs accordingly. Society could benefit from this drug use, just as taxes on cigarette and alcohol do. There would be no stigma to using marijuana or other substances for medicinal purposes. Kids would not go to jail for a holding a bag of stuff in their hands.

For the record, I have never even smoked a cigarette. Drugs have never held any interest for me, maybe because I've been in the hospital and have a sense of my own mortality. Either way, it's been my choice not to indulge in such things. It is my hope that parents and the church would teach kids right and wrong in cases like these, rather than the heavy-handed attempts of government to throw people in jail. That doesn't solve addiction issues and such. When drugs become more widely available and less stigmatized, the drug war will finally be able to cool down.


ReplyThread
belgo_girl
belgo_girl
belgo_girl
Mon, Jul. 12th, 2004 03:35 pm (UTC)

Very interesting point of view. I hadn't thought about it that way except for the bit about making it legal and maybe the usage would die down. I don't know. I agree that it's none of my business what adults do behind closed doors, but I think that what children are doing is a problem. Essentially, I'm against drug usage unless it's for medicinal purposes. I have never been tempted to try, so it's easy for me to say I'm against them. I do think that the government has created a problem with all of its anti-drug campaigns. People like to do things they are told are wrong. Of course, people become addicted to prescription drugs and household cleaners, but the government isn't banning them. I can't even stand cigarettes.

I really don't think about the subject much, so I have nothing coherent or intelligent to say.

I suck at debate.


ReplyThread
spk1121
spk1121
Steve K
Thu, Jul. 15th, 2004 01:14 pm (UTC)
Usage

Hey, don't worry if you "suck at debate!" First off, I am interested in hearing people's opinions and learning more about you as individuals. I am also interested in discourse and actually learning. Besides, the advantage of writing on LJ is that you don't have to come up with remarks off the cuff! You can take the time to think about it and post what you want. It's all good.

I thought your statement "people become addicted to prescription drugs and household cleaners, but the government isn't banning them" was very insightful. Anything can be used improperly, so I think we should educate people about the potential pros and cons. Personally, I tend to think some people use drugs as an avenue of exploration. One of my friends tried it a few times in college, now it doesn't hold any more interest for him. I almost equate it with masterbation, which some people get into and others don't. It's not necessarily deviant behavior, though some people certainly think so. People learn about who they are and what they want in different ways. I can't even stand cigarettes either, so I know where you're coming from.

As for "People like to do things they are told are wrong," I do think drugs would lose some of their appeal if they were legal. The danger element is a big hook for kids, I think. Going back to smoking, cigarette companies know that if they don't get kids hooked before age 18 then the chances of it happening plummet. Kids smoke because it's rebellious and against the rules, and I think drugs follow much the same lines. That's why I would rather educate people about both pros and cons without stigmatizing the issue, so you don't drive the thrill-seekers toward them.

It's a puzzle, isn't it? Thanks for sharing your thoughts, please post if you have anymore!


ReplyThread Parent
fearless4jesus
fearless4jesus
Mon, Jul. 12th, 2004 05:25 pm (UTC)
Fire

Wow. You really got me thinking. I have thought about this subject many times before. I agree on most of your points spk, but I think this issue is too complicated to sit down and find an answer for. I think just banning it isn't solving the problem, but there has got to be some sort of action taken. I agree that parents and churches need to step up and teach kids about these things, but in most cases that isn't happening. So how can we change that? And what about the hard drugs that some guy is pushing on a 12 year old and screws up that kids life. There are some drugs that have no value but to destroy, what of those? There have got to be consequences. You are right that people will get what they want even when it's illegal, but more people may be deterred if they are not yet following that path. I don’t know, I have not really been tempted in this area either, I have only seen the pain it causes. I think the real issue is that this problem will not be solved here on Earth. It is a part of the fallen world. We can only attempt to control, contain and squirt our water guns at this fire, but it will not go out until this world passes away and a new heaven and new Earth are created. When God says enough. That is when it will stop. - Fearless


ReplyThread
spk1121
spk1121
Steve K
Thu, Jul. 15th, 2004 01:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Fire

Glad I was able to get you "fired up" and thinking about the issue. It is interesting, isn't it? I agree, we are "part of the fallen world" and people will find ways to mess themselves up until God comes to clean up. In the meantime, we have to muddle along and figure out what works best.

And what about the hard drugs that some guy is pushing on a 12 year old and screws up that kids life.
See, this is why I would want to legalize them! If they're widely available, drug pushers aren't going to make any money off it. They're not in it for the scenery, that's for sure! If there's no money in it, they won't be trying to push it on those kids and get them hooked. Also, taxation and income will add to government efforts to educate and inform.

Parents and churches need to step up and teach kids about these things, but in most cases that isn't happening.
Indeed. I think families and churches are in denial about the problem. I'm sure most people want to think that it's something that only happens to "others" and that inner-city congregations are the only ones that need to worry about it. The fire we need is in our churches in order to make people see the light! Even if it were just an urban problem, we should still be on top of it. The fact that it isn't limited to the ghetto means we should be even more aware of it and taking steps.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, please post if you have anymore!


ReplyThread Parent
refmansbn
refmansbn
Mon, Jul. 12th, 2004 06:29 pm (UTC)
Drugs' other side

A person who is at home, overdoses on drugs, found by a neighbor, and is saved at the hospital. Now, this person suffers permanent damage from the drug's overdose. Can't work, and has no private long term disability to support themselves. All of a sudden, this act behind "the closed doors of one's castle" has become all of our problem.

I really don't want more of my taxes being spent on supporting people like this, just because they believed that if they do it in their house, it hurts no one.


ReplyThread
spk1121
spk1121
Steve K
Thu, Jul. 15th, 2004 01:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Drugs' other side

Good points, refmansbn. However, I would argue that this is already happening and that our tax dollars are being drained not only in support of such individuals, but also in the support of a "drug war" that has had limited success. Whereas if we made it legal, we could talk about such things freely in public and school, both pros and cons. Rather than simply saying "drugs are bad" and expecting people to fall in line, we could have a genuine discussion about them. Legal doses of drugs would include warnings and even instructions for use, so people wouldn't have to "guess" at how much to take. Hence, the possibility of overdose would be reduced. Additionally, taxes could be used to support educational programs - this has already happened with the cigarette companies! Alcohol producers spend money on "Don't drink and drive" advertisements and such. Meanwhile, no profits or additional tax revenues are going toward the "drug war" because people refuse there could be benefits to such a course. In the long run, I believe this would reap more benefits than hazards.

Appreciate your thoughts, please post again if you think of anything else.


ReplyThread Parent
hellokitty138
hellokitty138
hellokitty138
Mon, Jul. 12th, 2004 09:05 pm (UTC)
A few thoughts...

Cigarettes and alcohol are legal and can be just as damaging as illegal drugs. However, the companies spend a lot of money to make it worth the politicians' while to keep them that way.

Refmansbn makes a good point about how what goes on in the castle can become everybody's problem. What about when what starts out as a recreational habit eventually becomes a serious addiction and the person starts stealing and doing anything necessary to get money for drugs?

One of the cops from the county drug task force came to talk to us at the library during our last staff workshop, primarily about methamphetamine. It was scary and very sobering. They had lots of pictures. Photos of someone before and after meth use are unbelievable. A 20-year-old can look 50 after just a couple of years of using.

If smoking dope makes someone who's dying feel better, I don't have a problem with that. I always wonder why the medical professionals care if someone with a terminal illness gets addicted to morphine. Does that seem strange to anyone else?

I know the fact that these drugs are illegal would deter me from ever trying them. I'm realistic enough to realize that it doesn't deter a lot of people.

I suppose it's possible that legalizing some of these drugs could help us have better control over them. However, if keeping drugs illegal prevents lives from being ruined, I'm for it.

When I studied in Vienna, we were made aware that there are 2 places where drugs are sold without police intervention: Stadtpark and the Karlsplatz station. We were also told not to be nervous about going to either place, as they are full of undercover cops making sure things don't get out of hand. They feel that they can keep a better handle on the drug situation if they can contain it (at least somewhat). Maybe they're right. But, I saw the "Drogenleute," as my German teacher called them, do things like spit on people. Should law-abiding citizens have to put up with that just to use public transportation? Karlsplatz is a hub station for subway and streetcar and is very busy because it's the stop for the Opera, among other things.

I guess my bottom line is this--sorry, I just don't buy the "A man's home is his castle" thing. If for no other reason than that the drugs might fall into the hands of children, I think that theory is waaaaay out there.


ReplyThread
spk1121
spk1121
Steve K
Thu, Jul. 15th, 2004 01:40 pm (UTC)
Re: A few thoughts...

I always wonder why the medical professionals care if someone with a terminal illness gets addicted to morphine. Does that seem strange to anyone else?
A bit, yeah!

I suppose it's possible that legalizing some of these drugs could help us have better control over them. However, if keeping drugs illegal prevents lives from being ruined, I'm for it.
Without repeating my comments from above, I would argue that legalizing drugs would save more lives in the long run. There would be more money for education (from tax revenues, company profits, etc) and for proper health care (i.e. rehabilitation facilities). Kids wouldn't try to sell because there would be no money in it. People wouldn't be in jail for having a bag of stuff in their hands, and there would be less of a stigma regarding going to the proper facilities for treatment.

When you really think about it, what has Robert Downey Jr done? The only crime he committed was when he broke into somebody's house and lay down on their bed because he thought it was his. As such, he should be duly prosecuted for breaking and entering. Other than that, how has his habit hurt the community? If anything, one could argue that his lost revenue (which is taxable) and movies/TV shows that have been put on hold (people's jobs) because of his convictions have hurt the greater community more directly. I agree that "law-abiding citizens" should not "have to put up with" stuff, like that one incident of bizarre behavior, in order to satisfy people's cravings. However, we should prosecute the actual crimes instead of the drug use or possession. That's my take on it, anyway.

Thanks for sharing! Please post again if you have any additional thoughts.


ReplyThread Parent
hellokitty138
hellokitty138
hellokitty138
Thu, Jul. 15th, 2004 02:36 pm (UTC)
Re: A few thoughts...

wouldn't be in jail for having a bag of stuff in their hands, and there would be less of a stigma regarding going to the proper facilities for treatment.</em>

OK. I can buy this.

When you really think about it, what has Robert Downey Jr done?

He's really hurt himself (and perhaps the people who care about him) more than anyone else. Possession of drugs is a misdemeanor, right?


ReplyThread Parent
spk1121
spk1121
Steve K
Thu, Jul. 15th, 2004 03:22 pm (UTC)
Re: A few thoughts...

Mmm, I'm not sure on the charges. I think it is a misdemeanor. Anyway, you're absolutely right - he has hurt himself! That's his choice. If his family and friends are concerned about him, it is only right and proper that they should step in and try to help him out. I don't think it should be the govt's job to throw him in the clink.


ReplyThread Parent