Drugs - 2017-06-08
Drugs are a very popular topic in society, especially when talking about poverty, juvenile delinquency, and addictions. However, what can be classified as a drug varies widely, not only does it include medications, but also caffeine and alcohol (and to a certain extent, sugar). So what determines when the use of drugs are justified? Under what circumstances? I will be expressing my view on this.
Firstly, I do not believe that drugs should be banned, as that typically only leads to shady negotiations and dealers with many bad practices, and does not really succeed in reducing the consumption of drugs as is. Rather, the consumption of these drugs (eg. heroine, methamphetamine, cocaine, etc.) is typically done in order to achieve a purpose, and it is this that we should be looking at, not the fact that it is consumed, as that does not solve the root of the problem. Therefore, let's first classify what makes a drug good or bad.
I would not say that drugs are good or bad on their own, but rather the reason why they are consumed, what the objective is with their consumption. Any objective that could be harmful to the consumer is something that should be considered a bad use. For example: the consumption of cocaine in order to stimulate the body and mind past its limits to outperform is a bad habit, as it creates dependency on the drug simply to get through the day (and as a consequence an addiction), while the consumption of pain killers to alleviate pain until proper medical treatment can be administered is perfectly acceptable as its purpose is that of helping the consumer. This, however, can also be applied to the same drug: the use of sleeping pills in order to force one to sleep under circumstances where they have medically found it difficult to do so is justified, but the use of these same pills in order to escape reality is unhealthy.
The main negative objectives I have seen with drugs have been primarily one of two: escapism or enhanced performance (stimulation). Although these are very obvious in drugs such as heroine and cocaine, we do not consider that we often take legal drugs that have these same effects and we use them for the same reasons. A prime example of this is the use of caffeine that I have seen in the USA. Often people will take coffee in the morning and throughout the day with the objective of enhancing their performance, to 'feel awake'. This creates a dependency on the caffeine in order to make it through the day, the day you don't take the caffeine your body will not have the energy to push through the day because you depended on the coffee before rather than making use of your own energy. Something similar can be seen with the use of alcohol that is commonly seen on weekends directly after the long work week, where people will get drunk in order to alleviate the stress that they have accumulated during the week instead of figuring out either how to diminish the stress in a more biological way (instead of forcing it through a drug) or attempting to reduce the accumulation of said stress in the first place (also a behaviour that I have seen quite predominantly in the USA).
Therefore, are these drugs all bad? I would argue that they are bad if your intentions in taking them are damaging and unhealthy. This being said, I don't believe that experimental usage of drugs is detrimental to health either, as the objective of experimenting is not something that causes unhealthy habits. The casual usage of soft drugs is not detrimental to one's health either as it is effectively similar to when one goes out to have an ice cream cone with a friend on a hot summer day or (more commonly in the Mediterranean) a cold beer. I would say that this changes only when the drug in question is a hard drug, such as methamphetamine or tobacco, that have fatal health risks associated with them and, in the case of tobacco, affect those around the consumer directly.