This post is going to be controversial. So, I am going to start by giving you my intent. My intent is to incite thought. I am not attempting to change anyone’s opinion, nor, as you will find, do I have a particularly strong opinion one way or another on some of the topics I’ll be discussing.
I think that we can all agree that drugs can be good and drugs can be bad. Drugs can save your life or kill you. We’re talking about drugs a lot more these days than we have in the past. From opioid addiction to legalization of cannabis to the debate over vaccinations, there is so much to know and so much information and misinformation.
We have such ingrained beliefs about certain subjects, that we can’t see them for what they are – beliefs. Let’s use dairy milk as an example to express how strongly we hold our beliefs. I know that more and more people are not drinking dairy milk for a variety of reasons, but I’m sure at sometime in your life you drank it or at least there are people in your life that drink it. It is universally accepted as something that humans consume. Let’s just accept that for the point of this exercise. OK, so, now, lets say I hand you a glass of dog milk. Or rat milk. Or even human milk (probably the best milk for us, if we’re going to drink milk at all!) Do you want to drink any of those? Or does the thought repulse you? Why? Because it’s culturally ingrained. There’s nothing more or less gross about dog milk than cow’s. It’s just a belief. We have similarly ingrained beliefs about drugs.
I’m going to start with vaccinations, because this seems to be the most heated debate lately. I’ll start by saying that I am neither pro nor anti vax. My daughter got all of her childhood vaccinations. With the resurgence of measles, I think it’s probably a really good idea to have had a measles shot. We don’t get flu shots. I haven’t had the flu since I was 22 (I’m 54) and my 15-year-old has never had the flu. I have also opted to not have her get the hpv vaccination. I’m not arguing that you should do what I did, or justify my choices. I’m simply encouraging everyone to do the research and make informed choices. Don’t accept or decline all vaccinations, just because. Do your research. I know people on both sides of the debate, who I respect. They’ve done their homework. They’ve come to differing conclusions. As long as the pharmaceutical industry is a for-profit industry, I know that their number one priority is their bottom line. Not my health. So, I will continue to be skeptical. I’d recommend researching and talking to your doctor about every vaccine that comes along.
Now let’s talk illegal drugs. My daughter came home last week and told me that they are learning about recreational drugs in health class. They had learned about LSD that day. That it is highly addictive, that people who take it more than a handful of times go insane, that people who take it never make anything of their lives and many die from it. The problem with this lesson is IT IS NOT TRUE. Now, before you unsubscribe because you think I am advocating teens taking LSD, I am not. But, I am also not advocating telling them falsehoods to scare them from drugs. And what I find particularly disturbing is that I’m sure the teachers who teach this, believe it is true.
The fact is, LSD was researched extensively in the 1950s and found to have many positive applications for treating anxiety, depression and addiction. It was legally distributed by the Sandoz company until it was made illegal and classified as a Schedule 1 drug in 1962. LSD is also anti-addictive, meaning that after someone takes it, they don’t have the desire to take it again, for a long time. Another fact is, there has never been a death attributed to LSD. Not one. Ever. Compare that to legal opioids, that kill almost 17,000 people every year, and destroys the lives of many, many more.
It wasn’t until the 1960s, when Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey and their ilk started telling kids to
“Turn on, Tune in, Drop out,” that the establishment community got freaked out and took it off the market and demonized it. If you’re interested in reading more on the subject, Michael Pollan, well-known author to foodies for his books, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and Cooked, among others, recently deviated from his usual subject and wrote a comprehensive book on psychedelics called How to Change Your Mind. There has been a resurgence of the study of psychedelics for psychiatric use, since the 1990s. But, don’t expect to be able to go to your doctor and get a prescription for acid anytime soon!
After tackling those two heavy subjects, bringing up marijuana seems a little anti-climactic. I will say that since I lived in Colorado when it became one of the first two states in the country to legalize it, I got a front row seat to its effects. I can’t say that I saw any negatives. It brought a bunch of revenue into the state, the taxes collected helped local communities. It brought in more tourism, for sure. The dispensary in my tiny town of 250 people, had visitors from all 50 states in its first year. For people who needed it medically, but lived in states where it wasn’t available, it became easier to come to a state and obtain it recreationally, rather than to try to get it medically, across state lines.
I’ve intentionally left out links to any drug research, because there’s just so much, on both sides of every argument. Any link I could add, would take you to an article with an opinion, and as I said in the beginning of my post, I am not arguing one side or the other. I am only arguing that we think and question. Always question. Question what you read, what you are told and even what you believe. Question your doctors, teachers, political & religious leaders. Never accept anything “just because.” And never say that to your kids!