10 September 2009

Not the sexy- drugs and politics

In my "Social Problems" class, we're talking about drugs, about their use, abuse, prosecution, and the potential for decriminalization.
It's hard to be objective about this. It's really hard.

Drug abuse has fucked my life up- badly. My mother was an alcoholic, and because of her many, many DUIs, she spent the majority of my childhood either in the hospital or prison. Later, as a teen, despite the fact that I have never touched an illegal drug (unless you count the occasional rum'n'coke with my father as a teen), cocaine took my brother, my lover, my home, my job, my car, and nearly my career in the military. Even now, the specter of addiction, and the mistakes of both myself and my loved ones haunt me.

And yet... and yet... I pride myself on my objectivity, and now that my wounds are healing a little (a very little!), I'm learning to look at drug use with a less fearful eye. (It helps to have a lover who's experimented with every drug under the sun!)

The evidence is mounting that marijuana is significantly less dangerous than cigarettes or alcohol, and that it can have great effectiveness in helping to treat the nausea and discomfort associated with chemotherapy, as well as other maladies. Certainly, while driving 'high' is not to be recommended, I've never seen evidence that its any worse than driving drunk- which is also illegal, and likely to remain that way!
It's well-known that the prison-industrial complex makes billions of dollars a year, and nearly as well-known that nearly half of American inmates are incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses. It's a matter of common sense that a reputab;e liquor vendor will refuse to sell alcohol to a minor, and that an average street vendor of illegal drugs will not. One might also consider that while hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on the "War on Drugs", drug use among teens has been holding steady for years, with nearly half of American teens admitting to having experimented with drugs at some point in their lives.

Clearly, my personal distast for drug use aside, the War on Drugs is failing, and we as society failing to come to grips with it.

Certainly Holland's policy of decriminalization and compassionate care for addicts has actually led to a decrease in criminal acitivity and even a decrease in drug use.
Would this work in the US? I'm afraid I'm not far enough along toward my sociology degree to answer this with any accuracy. American culture and Dutch culture are dissimilar, and the sizes and populations of our respective countries are very different.

One thing, however, is clear: American drug policy doesn't work.

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
I am just your ordinary average every day sane psycho supergoddess