I am addicted to caffeine and love beer. Whiskey defies explanation.
And yet I am not at all tempted by illicit substances. I am not a smoker of anything and am not in any way tempted by ecstasy or cocaine. I do not write this to set myself up for a fall, as it seems sometimes that any Christian who claims an aspect of a healthy lifestyle is protesting too much.
I write instead to clarify that when I approach the topic of the war on drugs it is not from the position of a closet user who wants legalisation to make his habit easier. Rather, walking around Dublin city and engaging in what little way I do with the heroin zombies one encounters homeless on the streets, I can’t help but think that our approach as it stands is failing. Addicts are still being made. Profits are still being siphoned off by murderous criminals. And our laws look increasingly like some Freudian guilt projection device to save us from asking questions about the obviously epidemic consumption of drugs from marijuana up to cocaine in prosperous middle class Ireland.
So it was with interest I read a review of a book about the social history of drug use in America that talks of the true history of illicit substances in the USA:
Early American settlers drank like fish, even the Puritans (though, as Grim fails to note, this was likely a habit transferred from Europe, where the water in many communities wasn’t potable). In the 19th century, the heyday of temperance campaigns, it was more socially acceptable to consume opium than alcohol, and by the end of the 1900s, America was a “pharmacopoeia utopia” in which coke, heroin and morphine were all readily available, either with a doctor’s prescription or in patent medicines and products like Coca-Cola, once a cocaine-containing beverage marketed as “a substitute for alcohol.” Traditionally, attempts to regulate or prohibit drugs in America have come from the left rather than the right; only with the advent of the counterculture did this change.
Or in other words, we don’t simply have the interesting modern day example of Portugal but we have a social history to examine in more detail. Perhaps this is the killer nail in the black-and-white coffin of total free market deregulation -or- total criminalisation that we need to investigate in Ireland?
Your Correspondent, His drug is hope, not dope so just say no! and stay in school kids!