Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by ScaryMonster, Sep 27, 2009.

1. ### ScaryMonsterI’m the whispered word.Valued Senior Member

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Call it reefer madness, seeking a changed state of consciousness, escaping the common place, feeding a gnawing physical addiction, running away from life or rebelling against the conventional the reasons for taking drugs in western society vary.
In the end no person, government or law can really prevent anyone using drugs if they decide that’s what they want to do and have the means to do it. Maybe that's actually a good thing? People in general feel that what the put into their own bodies is their business, not that the effects of certain drugs aren’t dangerous and damaging. I’m not condoning drug abuse only that to absolutely forbid it is futile. People will do what they want to do.
The United States learned from ‘Prohibition” that you can’t legislate morality.
That’s probably why the so-called Drug war can never be won.
In fact it’s a very 20th century concept that illicit drug use is amoral, drug cultures are to be found in countries where plant life yields these substances, different ritual ceremonies have always depended on hallucinogenics.
Jean Cocteau wrote regarding he’s addiction “I therefore became an opium addict, because the doctors who cure — one should really say, quite simply, who purge — do not think to cure the troubles which first caused the addiction; I had again preferred an artificial equilibrium to no equilibrium at all This moral disguise is more misleading then a disordered appearance: it is human, almost feminine to have recourse to it.” (Jean Cocteau — Opium)
Every whore has a sad story, you can’t really equate drug abuse with having a difficult or unhappy life, everyone has gone through difficulty some times horrific and yet not everyone gets addicted to drugs.
And then can you really equate something like Alcohol and Cannabis use with synthesized drug abuse, perceptionally as far as moral turpitude is concerned there is a huge gap between Alcohol which is legal and Ice.

Last edited: Sep 27, 2009

3. ### Omega133Aus der DunkelheitValued Senior Member

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The thing is that yes every addiction is caused by something(Divorce, death of someone, stress, loss of job) and that needs to be cured just as much as the addiction.

5. ### sandyBannedBanned

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They say everyone has an addiction whether it be food, exercise, drugs/booze, sex, whatever. I'm not so sure it's triggered by anything or just something that starts out as a like and turns into an addiction. Like the internet. I don't think anyone suffered a traumatic event/stress situation and then got addicted to the net.

7. ### ScaryMonsterI’m the whispered word.Valued Senior Member

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What about Internet porn? Or social networking sites like facebook or one of the others. It’s not physical addiction it’s psychological.
But that’s obsession not addiction or is it? :m: :m: :m:

8. ### Omega133Aus der DunkelheitValued Senior Member

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Obsession is wanting to do or have something so bad you would go to extreme lengths. Addiction is a sensation where you just can't stop.(they are similiar) In some cases(Drugs) you can't stop the addiction without rehabilitation.

9. ### GanymedeValued Senior Member

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3,322
Can anyone explain why the citizens of the United States lead the world in drug consumption? You would think that people in 3rd world countries where the drugs are manufactured and more plentiful would consume more narcotics. I can't figure this out for the life of me, what is it about our culture that compels many to indulge in drugs and alcohol more so then other cultures?

10. ### NesmRegistered Senior Member

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125
Unfortunately, it's the people doing the drugs now that want the free, state sponsored healthcare in 20 years time. Should the government be obliged to cover the cost of an individuals ignorance? Are (certain) governments not making a choice between:
• lets try to stop drug taking now,
• lets give them freedom to take drugs now, and use money (which could be used for better things) to cover their medical costs later in life - when the consequences catch up to their actions.
I guess that raises the point of whether free healthcare should be afforded to the overweight, heart attack prone ingester of deep fried fats and cakes. <Off topic>
That which morality encompasses, widens with our understanding of the world. Science shows that certain drugs affect the developing foetus, so where that risk occurs - the use is immoral.

Science also shows that drug use / abuse affects the neurochemistry of the user, to such an extent that they might steal, lie (from close, loved family included) and generally turn upside down their integratibilty in society, family or friendship circles. If a person is a link in the great chain of being

- is there not a moral obligation to ensure that one avoids those things detrimental to ones interaction with the world around?

And then the 'raw', hallucinogenic drugs of isolated cultures, are very different to the refined, enhanced and synthetic drugs of our world. People don't generally tend to take hallucinogenics each and every day. Yet we're quite familiar with the urges, the tugs and pulls which the drugs of our culture have on the user.

Our drugs aren't done for wisdom or insight. For communion or kinship. They done to fill the a void within which maybe, some have forgotten how to fill; or never been taught how to fill. Maybe its hard drugs, maybe soft; maybe its food or self-harm. But somehow, somewhere, sometimes - there's a space that needs filling.
It'd be interesting to see statistics on the amount of domestic violence, road deaths etc. (where victim are involved) - where the offender was using alcohol, versus those using hard drugs, such as ice. I have a feeling that alcohol is worse when it comes to collateral damage - but I might very well be wrong here.
If certain substances pose a greater chance of leading to actions which harmfully impose on those around us - and imagine alcohol is such a substance; is there really so big a gap between alcohol and Ice?

Last edited: Sep 27, 2009
11. ### EndLightEndThis too shall pass.Registered Senior Member

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1,301
Its simple. Were a country of excess. Its not just drug consumption, even though we constitute only 5% of the world population, we use 25% percent of the total energy. Its called materialism and its running rampant in the US.

On average, one American consumes as much energy as

2 Japanese
6 Mexicans
13 Chinese
31 Indians
307 Tanzanians
370 Ethiopians

Found at http://www.mindfully.org/Sustainability/Americans-Consume-24percent.htm

12. ### EnmosStaff Member

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43,184
It could just be caused by regular intake and nothing else.

13. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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My guess would be that since people in the US can pay so much more for drugs than people in crappy 3rd world countries, the guys who make the drugs prefer to ship them to wherever the price is highest. Why would you sell a gram of cocaine to some third-world peasant for $5 when you could sell it to some frat-boy in the US for$50?

Of course, there's some expense and risk involved in moving the drugs to another country - but my guess is that the higher prices that you can get more than cancels it out.

14. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

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24,690
Indeed. People were able to get drugs in the USSR. People are able to get drugs in prison. The idea that the authorities could stop people from getting drugs in a country with a high level of freedom, AND in which the population routinely flouts laws (speeding, income tax, property zoning, etc.), is ludicrous.
Unfortunately by lumping all drugs together, the government makes it harder for people to distinguish between those drugs and the ones that are not dangerous and damaging. In fact, the two drugs that are the most dangerous and damaging, alcohol and tobacco, are legal. And our culture actually panders caffeine to children, which is the last thing they should have!

Marijuana is the most benign of all popular recreational drugs. (It does not cause aggressive driving and fist fights like caffeine.) Yet because it's smelly, bulky, and shows up in a urine test a month later, many people have switched to drugs that are less dangerous to their careers but more dangerous to their health.
Apparently not. At least then the Constitution was respected, and the government went through the arduous process of passing an amendment before they assumed the power to tell people what they can put into their own bodies. (It's not widely known that arguably the main reason FDR spearheaded the repeal was that the Great Depression was in full force, today's confiscatory income tax was not yet in effect, and the government wanted the 30% increase in revenue from alcohol tax.)

Today Congress passes unconstitutional laws regulating the behavior of consenting adults, the President signs them, and the Supreme Court sits on their fat asses letting it all happen.
For starters, Wikipedia says we are not even close to the top of the list when it comes to alcohol. The USA is #43 in world alcohol consumption, at 9 liters of pure alcohol per capita per year. Uganda is #1 at 19 liters. Luxemburg, the Czech Rep., Ireland, Moldova, Hungary, France, Reunion, Bermuda and Germany (13 liters) round out the top ten.

We're a nation of excess, it's a defining part of our culture. Food, exercise, sex, entertainment, shopping, energy consumption, driving (15,000 miles per year is not exceptional), the size of our houses (we have three whole rooms we don't use), even our average work week (just about 50 hours). Naturally drugs fall into the same category.
You must be an American because your premise is stated without any numbers. Tobacco causes the greatest health problems and it's legal. By what percentage are illegal drugs going to increase the lifetime medical costs for the average user?
Again, in typical American rhetoric, you don't give us any numbers? You can't perform rational risk management without rational risk analysis, and you don't provide the data for us to do so.
You cleverly left out the word "certain" before "drug use" this time, making your conclusion bogus. Not all drugs do that. Marijuana users, taken statistically, are one of the most trustworthy demographic groups. The drug induces a healthy sense of paranoia that discourages them from doing anything that could get them in trouble beyond simply smoking the pot itself.
So far you haven't impressed me as a person with a lot of first-hand experience with drug users, so your arguments come across as a little disingenuous. I know people who have been smoking grass for fifty years. They have succeeded professionally, raised fine children, accumulated nice retirement portfolios, and in general are perfectly responsible citizens.
Again, none of this rings true, suggesting that you read it in some government propaganda (such as TV news) rather than learning it by observation. I go back to the days when pot and LSD were the major drugs, but many people used them for the kinds of purposes you mention. I'm a musician and I knew many musicians who got more inspiration while high than not.

15. ### John99BannedBanned

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22,046
many countries have the same drug problem. the u.s is also right next to where they grow them. but a segment of the people would always gravitate towards drugs.

Last edited: Sep 27, 2009
16. ### ScaryMonsterI’m the whispered word.Valued Senior Member

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Drug list

I think it might be useful to categorize Drugs in a general way so we can talk about them individually. This is just off the top of my head from my very general knowledge of pharmacology:

Drug are divided into two types, Organic Drugs and Synthesized Drugs.

Organic Drugs are:
1. Tobacco
2. Cannabis
3. Hashish
4. Opium
5. Amanita Muscaria (Fly – Agaric Mushrooms. Purportedly used by the Vikings to induce a Berserker rage for battle )
6. Peyote
7. Psilocybin (Mushroom)
8. Alcohol (Although one might consider this a synthesized drugs I put it in the first list)

Synthesized Drugs are:
1. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
2. Dimethltriptamine (DMT)
3. Mescalin and Psilocybin (Both have been synthesized in the lab, they are stronger then the organic versions.)
4. LSD 25
5. Cocaine
6. Morphine
7. Heroin
8. Barbiturates and Tranquilizers
9. Amphetamines. (Speed)
10. Methamphetamine (Ice or Meth)
11. Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) also known as Ecstasy.
This list is in no way comprehensive, some are derivatives of others and some are unique.
Pick one or however many you want and we can talk about them.

17. ### DoreenValued Senior Member

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4,100
Well, I am sure some have actually, but I agree with your general point. Not every addiction is caused by trauma or used to deal with it. Trauma increases the liklihood that one will use addiction to deal with the aftermath though.

18. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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6,221
First off, all the drugs you listed below were organic molecules, so it kind of hurts my chemist brain to say that only some of them were "organic". Maybe "naturally occurring" would be be a better label.

Also, cocaine and morphine are natural plant extracts. The mescalin and psilocybin that's synthesized in a lab aren't any stronger than plant-extract mescalin and psilocybin, they're all exactly the same molecule - your body can't tell if the molecules were made by a plant or a synthetic chemist in a lab.

19. ### ScaryMonsterI’m the whispered word.Valued Senior Member

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My meaning for organic was something that grows out of the ground or is only processed slightly, so naturally occurring might be a better term! But that’s just semantics. Should Cocaine and Morphine go in the organic –naturally occurring list? It takes a fair bit of processing to make them though.
I always thought synthetically manufactured Mescalin and Psilocybin were stronger in effect then “naturally occurring” derivatives? Maybe the synthetic dose of these drugs is more concentrated then a comparable amount of the natural stuff because its in a pure form?
I’m not a chemist, I’d like to get a more comprehensive list together then the one I made, I think my so called organic (naturally occurring) list is a little short and there must be some more exotic synthesized drugs to add to it as well.
I’ve heard that LSD is not physically addictive and that there are no known proven physical side effects to this drug, but I’ve heard rumors that it might cause schizophrenia and that people can have LSD flash backs.

Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
20. ### WatcherJust another old creakerRegistered Senior Member

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Are you serious? You can't figure this one out? If you had to choose whether you and your children are going to starve to death today, or you are going to buy a recreational drug, which would you choose?

America is a consumerist, I must have WHAT I want WHEN I want it society from top to bottom, we have been brainwashed for a half-century by Madison Avenue to spend our extra pennies on indulgences. Why would the purchase and use of recreational drugs be any different?

21. ### Fraggle RockerStaff Member

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24,690
Actually it's been going on for much longer than that, more than a century. The U.S. economy passed the tipping point from scarcity-driven to surplus-driven in the 1880s.

Of course today we consider electric lights, washing machines, telephones, motorized transport, no more than two children sharing a bedroom, and the like, to be necessities. But 110 years ago people who had never had them--or even seen them!--regarded them as luxuries. They needed to be convinced to spend their modest surplus income on those luxuries, rather than salting it away for an old age which they didn't expect to be subsidized by children who would be even wealthier, or by government programs.

The American Christmas as we know it, focusing on giving gifts rather than counting blessings, came into being shortly before the turn of the century. The modern American Santa Claus, a man who has enough food for two people and enough surplus wealth to give gifts to complete strangers, was invented by the Coca-Cola company in the 1930s (yes kids the same folks who mass-marketed cocaine to a previous generation) because it wasn't easy to sell ice-cold soft drinks in winter. And the result was the cultural institution known as "Christmas shopping."

Our consumer culture is older than communism.

Think of that while you're out there on Black Friday. (For you non-Americans, the day after Thanksgiving is "the first shopping day before Christmas" and the stores open early, some at midnight. It's best to wear full-body armor.)

22. ### takethewarhomemidnatt klarhetRegistered Senior Member

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I think that some drug tolerance can actually be beneficial. People's minds just take time to change, that's all. I don't think fifty years down the road that there'll be such a stigma around drugs and their use.

23. ### OrleanderOH JOY!!!!Valued Senior Member

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25,817
you don't think there will be a stigma around cigarette smoking?