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Thoughts on Drugs
Drugs, drug use and drug laws are very controversial subjects. And as such, I have an opinion on these matters.
People use recreational drugs for a multitude of reasons. It just happens that some drugs are legal and some are not. Some drugs are more harmful than others; this fact is not necessarily reflected in their legal status.
The two main legal recreational drugs are alcohol and nicotine. Alcohol brings on a dulling euphoria and a dropping of inhibitions. It impairs motor skills and thought processes and causes dehydration. Not really sure what the big thing about nicotine is, as I've never really used it. It seems to give a stimulant-like buzz but at the same time it relaxes people. That latter may be a psychological effect from long-term use.
Both of these drugs have health risks associated with them; liver disease in the case of alcohol, lung and throat cancers in the case nicotine. Alcohol also is responsible for death and injury through its effects on motor skill and judgement. Nicotine and alcohol are direct causes of a significant percentage of deaths in the Western world.
The laws around the use of both types of drug are fairly basic: you must be of a certain age to acquire these drugs, and, in the case of alcohol, you may not operate a vehicle after imbibing a certain quantity. These are fair laws; the requirement that a person is old enough to understand the health risks associated with the consumption of the drug, and reduction of the risk to other people while under the influence of the drug.
These sorts of rules should be expanded out to other drugs. There is a mountain of information available on the effects of other drugs. In many cases, certain illegal dugs are actually shown to be less dangerous that those that are legal. I am not going to say safer, merely less dangerous. Unfortunately, due to the illegality of the majority of recreational drugs, many drugs that would otherwise be relatively less dangerous become more dangerous due to the difficulty in procuring them.
In an ideal world, recreational drug use would not be illegal. The decision to use a given drug should be a personal one based on understanding of the risks and rewards involved with that drug. Making the use of drugs legal does not mean that any individual has to approve of the use of them. I don't like cigarettes or their health affects; but I will not argue against a person's right to do whatever they like to their body. (As to the issue of second hand smoke, well, that's something else entirely.)
The distribution of drugs should be controlled, in much the same way that alcohol and tobacco are controlled in most countries. This is to ensure purity of product. And the government would be able to tax sales of drugs. Drugs are known to have side effects (I have already identified some of those for legal drugs), not the least of which is addiction. Money obtained from taxes on drugs should be used primarily for drug education and rehabilitation.
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