Saturday, September 12, 2009

Drugs and Education

I think that in their comments to the last blog post, Corey and Tyler brought us to the conclusion reached by Linda Kunze in the final essay we are reading about drugs. Toward the end of Drug Use: The Continuing Epidemic, Kunze talks about how the country might respond to the abuse of drugs, "Although there are no easy answers to this age-old problem, early education seems to be the only truly effective weapon the nation has" (366). I think she is right.

Clearly the abuse of drugs is a problem for society. Drug abuse has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of people, destroyed the lives and families of millions more, and cost society billions in lost productivity and property. I don't think anyone disagrees with or can ignore these facts. I also don't think that anyone will deny that society has the responsibility to address the damage caused by drug abuse. The problem is figuring out what response is best.

Figuring out this problem is made all the more difficult because of our emotional involvement with the situation. As we can already see even in the small population of our class, almost all of us have been touched either directly or indirectly by drug abuse. Very few of us are truly indifferent to and objective about drug abuse; rather, we are passionate and engaged. This makes it harder to think rationally and to engage in considerate thoughtful dialog with those who oppose our passions. I remember when a few of my sister's more unsavory drug associates showed up at her funeral. My family and I were horrified and outraged. After all, these were the very people we blamed for her death. I can easily understand Justin's willingness to shoot on-sight anyone associated with illicit drug use, but as that a good path for society to follow? In my sane moments, I think not.

To my mind, the way we are handling drug abuse is similar to how we've tried to handle mental illness, a problem that society has addressed in different ways. In ancient times, mentally ill people were charged with demon possession and either cast out from the group or executed. In the Middle Ages, society became a bit more compassionate and reasonable and just put the mentally ill in prisons. In the 20th Century, we finally began to treat mental illness as a medical condition, not as criminal behavior. Likewise, I don't think we should treat drug abuse as criminal behavior. I am convinced that we can achieve a far better society if we decriminalize all drug use and manage the production and distribution of drugs through the government rather than through the Black Market, or even legal markets. This does not mean that I am in favor of or that I condone drug abuse, no more than I am in favor of or condone mental illness. I just think there are better ways to treat these problems than by shooting people or putting them in prison.

I noticed in the news recently that Mexico has decriminalized the use of marijuana, deciding that they have much bigger issues to deal with in their war against the drug cartels. Is this a good first step toward using education rather than bullets to curtail drug abuse? Is it something the US should consider?


Justin said...

I dont believe drug abusers should be shot without reason but drug dealers deserve the bullet holes. Drug abusers have a sickness that the dealers are helping prolong the sickness thats why they deserve to lose their life in my opinion.

I choose not to indulge in drug activity so if they legalize weed it wouldnt affect me either way. It would just give potheads one less thing to talk about.

I realize how rash my statements may be but i have a true hatred for drugs for the havoc they cause in people's lives. Life is bad enough without extra stresses like drug abuse thrown in the mix.I will always be abbrasive on this issue no matter how much i grow as a person and become more understanding of the world. Im only 20 so there is still alot of time for me to learn to cope with my beliefs.

Tyler said...

Mexico's decision to decriminalize pot and other drugs is a step in the right direction. The very fact that Mexico has been so destablized and crippled by this "War on Drugs" is a testament to failed and short sighted policy making. And while the United States hasn't felt the full brunt of this failure, the decapitated bodies turning up in El Paso, Texas, as opposed to Juarez, Mexico, say its coming. The legal system in Mexico has been so corrupted and overrun by drug cartels, Mexico simply did what was required to make real, postive impact. As a nation, the US has been waging this war for almost half a century, and as it stands, the only thing we've succeeded in doing is creating the world's largest prison population.

Education is the only way to make change in this country and around the world. It doesn't matter how harshly you legislate drugs, people will always make the choice to use, and where there is a market, there will always be peddlers. If we want to stop the pandemic of drug addiction, we need to educate our citizens, not attempt to legislate personal morality. Recreational drug use is something very different than drug addiction and also needs a new outlook from both a legislative and an enforcement point of view.

Sharon said...

Justin you could be right but take this example.....
A mother has a 6months child and she leave the child at the room where she thinks it is safer for the child and went to the kitchen to prepare food for that child. In a space of how many minutes the child craw to the bath room and gets a detergent and drinks. Who would you blame.....certainly the mom but it's not like she wasn't doing her job, it just...i will say "forgetfulness." So will you shoot her if incase this child is at the point of death....I don't think it's a good judgement.

I had a calculus teacher when i was in highschool. This is his believe "Human race like the wrong things over the right things" He said that humans like to copy the wrong things so fast than the right things. This same principles apply to drug in this way as i we expanciate on it as we discuss.
Base on the scientific purpose drug is good but people have missuse its purpose thus our society is threaten.
Education is a good thing lets take the cigarette company for example; the community have educate its inhabitants about the danger of nicotin but people still consume it as the day passes. Another thing is drinking and driving. People have been educated in this but they still fail to follow their duties. I'm not gainst anything neither do I like drug nor the suppliers of drugs. i don't think killing all the drug lords will make the society free of drug or make the consumers stop taking it. Even If the drugs are to be decriminalize today in the united states the will still be another excuse or something that people will dwell on. The one thing i'm positive about is Educating the young ones about what drug is all about and the dangers of drug to their lives and their society.
The bible say "Bring up your child so that when he or she grows up he or she will never depart from those ways"

tanora said...

i think mexico is making a good decision actually. I strongly agree with what tyler has to say about the whole situation including education. It is the only way to come about change not matter how you are educated