“Drug” is a word that has polluted the well of language.
Part of the reason we have a drug problem is because we don’t have an intelligent language to talk about substances, plants, psychedelic [and] sedative states of mind, states of amphetamine excitation. We can’t make sense of the problem and the opportunities offered by substances unless we clean up our language.
“Drugs” is a word that’s been used by governments to make it impossible to think creatively about the problem of substances and abuse and availability and so forth and so on.
So it’s a kind of a paradox isn’t it?
“Drugs” mean that which cures us and the greatest social problem of the generation.
Apparently there are “good drugs” sanctioned by science and medicine and “bad drugs” used by brown people in strange rites and growing in unusual plants in distant parts of the world. This kind of thinking, because it’s naive, leads of course to social problems and bad politics and bad social policy.
Every society chooses a small number of substances, no matter how toxic, and enshrines them in its cultural values, then demonizes all other substances and then persecutes and launches witch hunts against those users whenever some political pretext requires…So it’s an old game and it’s been played in many places.
Hopefully part of the advancement of society toward ideas of universal human rights and that sort of thing it certainly must include the idea of the universal human right to take responsibility for and to alter your own state of consciousness as you see fit.
I don’t think we can even pretend that we are on the edge of a civilized dialogue until we grant that people’s minds, like their bodies, must be a domain free from government control. In American law we have the notion of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If the pursuit of happiness means anything it must mean the right to use and experiment with substances and plants.”
Terence is right in saying the word “drug” has polluted our language. People with no knowledge in the area cannot, or will not, distinguish between a drug like heroin and a drug like LSD or Psilocybin, and as such there is a tremendous gap between their understanding and reality.
This leads to horrific stereotyping of drug users, unfair and disproportionate punishment and social stigma that creates an environment of mistrust and aggressiveness.
Is this the world we want our children to live in? Where the act of exploring one’s own psyche is vilified, and those who practice are treated as criminals?
We know already from common sense that the “War on Drugs” has failed. It has left us with a legacy of exponentially rising use and abuse rates, and alarmingly higher rates of harm. It has left us with propaganda, misinformation. It has let us down. Anyone who has lost a child to heroin knows this.
The only intelligent way forward is a re-think of current drug policy that removes the criminality from use and educates the populace on how to use drugs safely, productively and responsibly.
How do we get there?
Spread the word. Make sure to correct people when they are speaking untruths about drugs or their use, but always respectfully and with supporting evidence. Contact your local member of government and voice your concerns. Post reliable, accurate information about drugs on social networking sites. Encourage and model responsible use and behavior around drugs.
We must inform the people and give them the power to make their own choices, but we must also give them the tools to make those choices safely.
It all starts with you.