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The Effects of Various Drugs

a Christian looks at how drugs have affected his friends.
 
 

I grew up in a Christian faith. My church emphasized "Love thy neighbor as thyself," and "Judge not that ye be not judged."

Consequently, when I reached high school, although I was horrified to find that friends of mine had started using drugs, I accepted them without open judgment. As a result, the users accepted me and were unthreatened by my presence, either as a nonuser, or as a Christian. Thus I got to observe, and learn how each drug affected the users. This has led me to believe that the war on drugs is misdirected.

Here is a summary of how I observed the drugs affecting the users, with a comparison of what research has determined.

Alcohol:

Those under the influence of alcohol tend to become loud, stupid, aggressive, quick to anger and act in anger. Alcohol is the only drug that led to the arrest of anyone I knew. Those who vandalized had been drinking. Most of the fights and collisions resulted from alcohol use. Males who treated girls disrespectfully had been drinking. Nearly all of the chemical related aggressive or antisocial behavior I ever observed resulted from alcohol, not other drugs.

Statisticians report that most fatal collisions, rapes, and domestic violence is associated with alcohol. Alcohol kills more than all the illegal drugs combined.

Cigarettes / Tobacco:

By the time I reached 21, most of the smokers I knew had tried to quit and failed. Many of them had tried more than once. Smokers, driven by their addiction, occasionally made potentially destructive choices, such as driving off the road while trying to light a cigarette, throwing a lit butt in dried grass, or skipping class to smoke.

Statisticians report that cigarettes kill more people than all the illegal drugs plus AIDS combined. Researchers report that tobacco is far more addictive than cocaine.

TV:

People addicted to TV become less social, and less creative. TV separates families and friends. One year, I associated with a group that spent much time together talking and enjoying each other's company. Then, my roommate got a TV. Within a few weeks those who had previously talked intimately as friends, walked past each other with vacuous stares, even without greetings, to sit silently in front of the TV.

I knew a woman with three children. Her children were very creative and cooperative. They would make up their own games and play together. Then the family got a TV. A few months later, the children were having frequent fights; they no longer created their own games and rarely played together. So they got rid of the TV. After a few painful weeks of withdraw, the children returned to creating their games and playing together, and quit fighting.

Statisticians report that the average American watches over 20 hours of TV each week. That is time not spent talking to, or helping spouses, children, friends, or community. It is time not involved in activities or exercise Statisticians report that the more TV people watch the more paranoid they tend to be.

Obesity is one of the biggest killers in America. The most significant factor in obesity is number of hours of TV watched.

Seems ironic that TV regularly advertises the war on drugs, but TV itself may lead to more negligent behavior and even deaths, than all the illegal drugs combined.

Cocaine:

Those who I saw using cocaine were driven to use more cocaine. They couldn't stop until the supply was gone. They believed that they were more aware, but they acted less aware. One said, "The only thing cocaine made me feel was the desire for more cocaine."

Researchers report that as long as there is a supply, a user will keep using cocaine, passing up more healthful responsible options. However, when the supply runs out, it is easier to quit than tobacco.

Marijuana:

This one surprised me. It seemed to make most users kinder, more respectful, more creative, and more willing to discuss ideas. Most of the intellectual discussions I had in college were with students under the influence of marijuana. This stands in strong contrast to drinkers who became too heavy headed, and belligerent to discuss ideas. Of course, a few users seemed to become stupider while under the influence.

One researcher found that most of the pot smokers from the 1960s had survived into the 1980s and were involved in something creative and productive, which he contrasted to the many deaths resulting from crack addicts. One may also contrast this to the lack of creativity and involvement demonstrated by TV addicts.

Football - Boxing - Wrestling:

Those under the influence of football or wrestling tended to become belligerent, disrespectful, and intolerant. Frequently they would express hatred for petty things, such as what city a person was from. I have observed a few under the influence of wrestling or football intentionally wreck cars, or commit vandalism. The worst cases occurred when they were influence by both football and alcohol.

Some researcher have found evidence that people who see violence rewarded, such as occurs in wrestling, tend to become more violent. Isn't it ironic that we encourage our young to turn to sports to keep them away from marijuana. Frequently, we suggest that choosing football over marijuana will save them from some violent fate.

Hallucinogens:

I once jumped into a car only to find the driver had taken LSD. It was almost as frightening as jumping into cars where the drivers had been drinking. Where the drunk drivers had shown excited disregard for safety, the hallucinator overcompensated for everything, nearly driving off the road to avoid other cars.

Those that I observed "tripping" could not make correct decisions, since what they were seeing and hearing was not accurate. Some had permanent changes in their thinking after the "trip." Their thinking tended to become more mystical, less reductionistic, and they perceive everything as connected, long after the trip.

Crack, Heroin, etc.:

I had very little exposure to users of these drugs. These drugs seemed to be mostly used by outcasts and the disadvantaged.


If we want to oppose the dangers associated with drugs, we should consider which drugs create the most danger. Based on my observations of users the drugs have different types side effects. We can list the dangers in terms of these effects

  1. The greatest killers - tobacco, alcohol, TV
  2. the most addictive - tobacco, cocaine
  3. the most antisocial behavior - alcohol, cocaine, football / wrestling

Notice that the greatest risks and side effects tend to be associated with the legal, and even encouraged, addictives: alcohol, tobacco, TV, and football / wrestling. These are the first ones that should be dealt with if we are trying to make our people safer, and healthier.


Organizations opposed to the war on drug:
the Libertarian Party The Internet Party NORML
 

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