So we’ve covered two major drug problems in this country, and now we will take a look at the biggest, which is the way we approach the problems of drugs, addiction, and use.
This video covers much of the ground it needs to without further comment, but of course there are many other complex issues that surround the question of drugs. One aspect that I didn’t touch on at all is the legal drug trade – the pharmaceutical companies, who push us to medicate and sedate our children as a way of life from the time they’re old enough to occasionally be a pain in the butt. Not only do we get our kids hooked on these drugs when they’re still very young children, but we seem entirely unable to recognize the inherent hypocrisy in shoving pills down kids’ throats to control their moods and behavior while constantly preaching to them that taking drugs to control their moods and behavior is wrong and bad. Talk about your mixed messages!
I’m sure I’ll end up coming back to those and other issues in the future, but for now I think this three-part series has touched on the major points I wanted to make: that we are not properly educated about drugs ourselves; that we perpetuate this ignorance by lying to our children with regard to drugs; and that we treat with laws and prisons and police a problem that should rightly be treated with medical, psychiatric, and humanitarian care.
Thanks for reading, please remember to spread the word far and wide, and I look forward to seeing you all again very soon!
So we started out saying that America had three drug problems. We covered the first two: The first one is that people don't understand addiction and the differences between physical and psychological addiction, and what each individual drugs are more or less risky for which types of addiction. We talked about that; we talked about the second problem, which is the way we go about educating ourselves, and each other, and our kids about drugs and drug abuse in this country.
Now the third problem is in the way we deal with drug users and drug abuse and drug addicts as social issues in this country. Our prisons are full of people who have been locked up for, you know, pot, things like that. There's a very common cry amongst the conservative set, that people who are drawing benefits from social welfare programs should be tested for drugs and if they're on drugs they shouldn't be allowed to have the assistance that they're getting, which really doesn't make any sense to me, because really what we're saying is that if somebody is addicted to drugs... (NOTE: I sort of went off on a tangent here, but I'll get back to it) ...and addiction is a disease. It's a disease. Alcoholism is a disease. It's not a lifestyle choice.
Addiction is a disease. It is a mental illness that can have physical effects on the brain. Physical addiction WILL have physical effects on the brain. Long-term abuse of substances like marijuana that you are psychologically addicted to can also have physical effects on the brain, and on the body.
Certainly, it is a mental illness, and to treat such a thing as though it's something that the victim has chosen is pathologically cruel. It's inhumane, and it makes no sense. It solves no problems, it addresses no issues, and it helps nobody, neither the individual nor the society of which they are a member.
We treat peple who use drugs and who are addicts as though they are - rather than sick - lazy, or malingering, or they just don't want to do what they need to do to get by in life, and that's just not true.
And again: I'm speaking from experience.
Now keep in mind that this isn't just my opinion, I'm not just saying this to give myself an excused for my own past behavior, or to give anybody else an excuse for theirs. This is the opinion of experts whose field is the study of these problems. The people who are supposed to know what the hell they're talking about say: addiction is a disease. A disease. A sickness. These people are not lazy, or stupid, or evil, or unworthy of social help. They're sick, and they need help.
I got lucky. I didn't have to go to jail, or kill myself, or end up being a prostitute somewhere or something (because I'm such a hot commodity). I got lucky, and the things I already knew about that kind of behavior kicked in and saved my ass and I went home and laid on a mattress and shivered and shook and puked and cramped for a three-four days and then I was done with it, and I haven't touched anything hard since.
Some people, like me, are fortunate enough...my dad was the same way. You hit a certain wall, and that's your "bottom" as they call it around the tables, you hit your bottom, you shape up, you get your shit together and do what you need to do and you're fine. Other people have to go back and forth a few times and learn things the hard way, because a lot of times it's a matter of learning things that quote-unquote normal people learn as kids and take for granted that we didn't learn when we were kids because our families were fucked up so bad. So sometimes it's more than locking someone in a room for three-four days away from their drug of choice and saying "okay, you're cured." There's a lot to it.
When we treat these people like criminals, they become criminals. If we treat them like human beings, they become human beings...and they already are human beings. For us to say that a person on drugs is not worthy of social assistance is no different than to say that a person who has cancer, or who has a profound mental illness, or a person whose legs don't work is not worthy of social assistance.
So now we've identified the third problem, and we can sum it up thusly: drug addiction is not a criminal problem. It is a humanitarian problem. This is not an issue that police are ever going to solve. It is not an issue that law enforcement is ever going to solve. This is an issue that doctors, and psychologists, and humanitarians, and anthropoligists, and sociologists can approach and solve, and that is the way we need to approach it to deal with it.
So, we've identified America's drug problems, and we've identified clear solutions for each one of them.
Thanks for watching. I strongly encourage you to please share this around, feel free to add your comments at the bottom of any of the videos. Drop by my blog, LowGenius.Net, I do a lot of commentaries and videos like this, some of them are more performed than others but I think you'll still enjoy them. Thank you very much again for watching, and remember: keep yourself informed, keep your eyes open, stay aware. Think clearly and completely about the problems that we're dealing with, and it will become clear to you that our current solutions are no solutions at all. We need to approach this like a medical issue - an epidemic issue - that needs to be treated like a medical issue on an individual level, that's the only way to approach it. Locking people in jails might help them detox for a few days, other than that it doesn't do any good, not at all.
So thanks again for watching, enjoy whatever it is that you're doing, stop by the blogs at lowgenius.net and 40yearoldfreshman.com, and I'll look forward to seeing you in the next video. Thanks.