Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Legal drugs just as risky to use

Legal drugs just as risky to use

(Ummm... not the headline I would have chosen at all. Not at all... My Clovis News Journal column for June 22, 2012. I have it on good authority that this column is "edgy, but it won't put an eye out".)

How many of you know someone whose life was destroyed by drug use? Before you answer that question, think for a minute.

Was that person's life destroyed by the chemical substances they put into their body, or by the legal and social penalties that have become automatic when they were discovered to be using those substances?

There is almost no successful person, in any sphere of life, who hasn't admitted using "drugs" or been caught using them at some point during their life. This still doesn't mean it's a smart thing to do- it isn't- but it does show that the drug use doesn't automatically destroy a person's life, as long as they can somehow avoid the worst of the imposed damage.

"Winners don't use drugs" is a lie. Sure, you can make the claim that the drug use alone makes the person a loser, but that doesn't reflect reality and it makes you look very dishonest to people who trust you to always tell them the truth. It can make them decide to see for themselves when it becomes obvious you weren't entirely truthful. It can erode the trust they are willing to place in you in other areas of life, too.

There are real reasons to avoid drug use, and most especially abuse. Point to the real reasons instead of the demonstrably false ones.

So, what are the real reasons it is a really bad idea to abuse drugs? It is expensive. It really can cause health problems if allowed to get out of control. It can cause legal trouble and a host of social problems if discovered. Because it is normally illegal, it puts you in the company of people who are willing to risk serious legal trouble, so adding one more offense by harming you in some way is not as daunting to them as it would be for most of us. It also can expose you to corrupt or over-zealous law enforcement and justice system employees who can drag you in deeper than you would go on your own in order to enhance their job statistics. I'm not saying this necessarily happens here, but it certainly does happen in most places in America today.

Legal drugs have just as many health risks as the illegal ones. Sometimes even more. By focusing on too many of the societal consequences you can skew the view of those you are trying to convince. And that could lead to tragedy.


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