Steering Toward a Better View on Drug Use

Drug Use for Grown-Ups by Dr. Carl L. Hart is filled with details documenting why and how our public view on drug use has become so…wrong.

“Attention-grabbing headlines claiming that opioids (or any other drug) are killing people are wrong. Ignorance and poverty are killing people, just as they have for centuries.”

“It’s also important to know that it is difficult to disentangle politics from science when dealing with a federal organization such as NIDA.”

The studies he cites and the experience he’s had, along with his feelings about drug use and its effects lead me to believe, once again, that we’ve been led in the wrong direction by…politicians, “morality”, and sheer ignorance. The so-called “war on drugs” has been going on my whole life and every year it only gets worse, according to the news. What if we did something totally crazy and tried something different?

“It took me nearly twenty years and dozens of scientific publications in the area of neuropsychopharmacology to recognize my own biases against amphetamines. I can only hope that you don’t require as much time and scientific activity in order to understand why reasonable adults might use this class of drugs. And I hope this knowledge engenders less judgement against and greater empathy for people who use amphetamines.”

I’m not going to go through all the truth bombs that are dropped in this book. I’d just be rewriting it. But I highly recommend reading it yourself. His research and perspective may get our country closer to being a bit more reasonable and compassionate toward those that use drugs and maybe even other areas where we’ve decided to butt into other people’s choices.

“It also wasn’t lost on me that in medicine, methamphetamine is used to improve the lives of patients. Recreational users take it to feel good and increase energy. In short, amphetamines help make people feel better. How can we be against people pursuing happiness?”

“I don’t entirely know why this is the case, but my guess is that it has something to do with the misguided puritanical values that are so pervasive in our education and that disproportionately regulate our behaviors. I think H.L. Mencken put it best when he defined puritanism as “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

And every time we make laws to “protect” people from themselves, we only create more problems that radiate out into the world to cause more and more suffering. At what point will we as a species learn to leave other people alone to live as they see fit?

“The totality of the evidence shows that on the overwhelming majority of measures, the cognitive performance of marijuana-exposed children does not differ from that of control subjects. Furthermore, even when there is an observed statistical difference, it is inappropriate to conclude that that difference equates a deficit, or that it has an impact on the daily functioning of an individual.”

This: Different does not mean deficient. Why is that so hard for everyone to understand? It brings me back to my experience with my children and public education. Because I learn differently does not mean there is anything wrong with me. Because I live, love, act, differently does not mean I need to be fixed. Why do feel this compulsion to fix everyone around us and make everyone exactly the same?

As you can see, this book is bringing up quite a bit of an emotional response in me. I’m not even touching the experience of racism that the author relates within these pages, not to mention police activity surrounding drug use and poverty here and in other countries.

I’ll probably be in this book for another day or two, so you’ll get at least one more post from me about it. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read this book, or plan to.

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