Subtraction Addiction

When Sting talked about legalisation of drugs, the poor guy had to sound like a nice guy. So he said that the money the US spends on reforming drug users and imprisoning them could be better used to tackle poverty and global warming.

I think he was high when he said that. Poverty and Global Warming are huge industries with several NGOs fighting over the spoils of being part of these movements. Drug users are jailed at random and usually when it is coupled with some petty crime. The government ought to realise that isolated cases cannot stop such consumption. One rarely hears about groups being imprisoned, when the fact is that it is often a social activity.

One is not promoting any such thing, but how many alcoholics are imprisoned or those who indulge in sexual exploitation within a closed circle?

We won’t get into a detailed study of hard versus soft drugs but many cults derive a certain identity due to some form of Ecstacy. In India sadhus (godmen) are often seen with hash and flower power had a lot to do with mind-altering substances.

Those who get into drug overdose that debilitates them or causes death are not arrested. Many of them are celebrities. They do not need legal sanction for anything. What about the poor? In Mumbai one sees them under railways bridges rolling joints. They are abused by the cops as well. Do remand homes and prisons change them?

The culture of rehab is truly about affordability. People with money enter fancy rehab centres, come out feeling good, give interviews to ‘Hello’ and ‘People’, and start snorting again.

A related, although not the same, topic is about sex addiction. It is only in the past few years one has been hearing about it. What is it? That a person has a huge propensity towards making out? Or is the problem that a person wants to make out with several people? That would be promiscuity. An addict wants to have one thing and does not seek variety. In fact, the very idea behind addiction is a kind of uni-dimensional obsession.

Michael Douglas, a known sex addict, said that he had cooled off now. Catherine Zeta Jones should sue him. How convenient it is for him as senior citizen to talk about taming the libido irrespective of whether his wife – 22 years younger – likes it or not. Same goes for Victoria Beckham. A report says she asks husband David Beckham for sex five times a day, and of course it is because she wants a daughter. (Bring on the halo.) She keeps a chart for good ovulation timings and stuff. Isn’t David the guy who couldn’t resist nannies? Then why are reports going all concerned about his exhaustion?

We won’t even get into Tiger Woods territory. It is bizarre that the media spoke about his return more as a prick rather than a golfer.

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  1. It depends on the drug -- pharmaceutical chemicals like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines will destroy the brain and are highly addictive, even for people without addictive personalities. There is good reason to keep this illegal, but it would be more useful for society if the effects of this drug was shown to the average person. Reality TV shows like "intervention" show the horrors of addiction up close and personal. It is only this kind of education that will bring down the drug problem -- treating drug users only as a crime problem is wasteful of the state's resources.

    Sting is correct that the illegalization of certain classes of drugs like Marijuana cause more harm than good -- it fills up prisons with people who commit non-violent crime and end up throwing out real criminals out of the system prematurely. I think marijuana needs to be decriminalized at the very least to relieve the burden of such crimes on the justice system, when there are far more serious crimes like human trafficking etc. that deserves the attention of the justice and law and order system...those are non victimless crimes unlike drug consumption.

  2. Al:

    Educative points, at least for me.

    The problem that needs to be addressed it to deal with the real issues of drug usage versus the cult aspect. Prisons cannot act as rehab centres.

    I am not sure whether you can have different standards for different drugs, at least not sure how it works legally. Then there is a whole class of people who trip on cough syrups, petrol etc.

  3. FV: "Prisons cannot act as rehab centres."

    It is Worse! Prisons are the place where an addict can get better sources for getting drugs when released from prison. Think of prison like a social club of hard-core drug users who exchange information on how to be a more effective junkie. Rehab in prison is a bad joke, since prisons are notorious for leaking drugs. Criminals who are junkies exchange favours with other criminals that can get drugs into prison.

    "I am not sure whether you can have different standards for different drugs, at least not sure how it works legally."

    You are right, and that is why it makes no sense to create an aura of mystery around usage, rather than being up front about it. The problem is that when official sources start to lie about drugs "for the greater good", then the entire credibility of such official sources takes a beating among the youth that it is meant to influence.

    DEA classifies marijuana in the same category as heroin, but all that does is mislead youth into trying marijuana, not finding it addictive, and then assuming that the same is true of heroin...and that flushes another life down the tubes.

    There is the "hard" and "soft" drug classification, which is vague, but seems more realistic


    compared to the DEA classification,

    FV:" Then there is a whole class of people who trip on cough syrups, petrol etc."

    I agree. And at some level, the answers lie in studying the group it affects most, and why, and then figure out how to fix it. Most of it starts with peer influence and peer pressure, which can be significant. Only the mentally disciplined and confident youth can shrug off peer pressure and not lose focus.

  4. Al:

    Heck, I know how bad it is in prisons and remand homes, the latter I have been to.

    You nail it when you talk about the obfuscation in grouping, wrt marijuana and heroin.

    This will be a continual problem and the extent of damaging addiction is terrible, especially among the poor. However, rehab at that level too is not really rehab but akin to a prison term.

    It's a vicious circle.

    Thanks for your additional and valuable input.


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