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Thursday, February 05, 2004

War on drugs ?

[Now Listening to - Aphex Twin - Powerpill Pacman]

Just finished seeing Taboo: Drugs (Episode 1), on the National Geographic channel. Its also running today on National Geographic India, so catch it fast if you can. Otherwise catch the replay on the 20 February. Don't miss it, its a really good documentary.

Important Note: The following is my own opinion, based on what I have read. It may or may not be factually correct. I strongly urge the reader to research the topic on her/his own and come to her/his own conclusions.

It is my opinion that the conservatives, by refusing to talk openly about drugs have done nothing but hurt their position. Blanket statements like "Say no to drugs" are completely naive and are nothing more than an intimidating tactic to get people away from drugs. By refusing information it looks suspiciously as though some important information is being hidden. Drugs range from the relatively mild marijuana all the way to pure heroin and crack cocaine. We cannot equally apply the same standard across the board to all drugs.

A couple of years back, while doing my PGDIT, I read the book The Doors of Perception/ Heaven and Hell. Its actually two books which were originally published seperately. In it the author (Aldous Huxley) writes about his experiences with the drug mescalin, which occurs in nature and has been used for centuries by local tribes.

There is some literature which talks about the benefits of certain drugs, especially conscious altering drugs. Why do the conservatives not address these issues properly and openly, in a proper environment ? No, instead of that, they give blanket statements in the media about the terrible effects of drugs, without ever going into specific details. Which drugs ? What exactly are these effects ? What about the benefits ?

Take marijuana for instance. On 29th January 2004, marijuana was reclassified down in the UK from a Class B drug to a Class C drug. They acknowledge, that although still illegal, it is "substantially less harmful than amphetamines, and less likely than alcohol and tobacco to lead to health problems". For so long, the British government followed the US and other Asian countries in following a blanket zero tolerance policy regarding all drugs. What has changed ? It is simply that they are facing the facts, namely all drugs are not created equal. Many European countries have already come to similar conclusions. In many of these countries, an open, honest discussion is now becoming possible. Why does the non-european world lag behind ? And what about an open discussion regarding conscious altering drugs ?

While I have no intention of using any of this stuff in the near future, what is important is to understand that the standard media message that we have got stuffed into our head - that all drugs are harmful - does not give the whole picture. It is nothing but new age propaganda. Throw it out of your head, and do your own research.

This is my method - Before you use any drug, read the research thoroughly. Be aware that many government funded researches are forced by the government into saying that drug usage is extremely harmful. At the same time, many extreme liberals do not present the whole picture either. Thats what makes it so confusing. There is very little information availble that is true and still tells the entire story. Thats the risk factor. Just make sure that you are not pressurised either way. Your parents may pressurise you to stay away. You friends may pressurise you to go ahead. Dont listen to either of them. Make up your own mind. If, after reading all the research, you have the slightest doubt, then stay away. But if you still feel 100% comfortable, then go right ahead.

A starting point -

New Scientist - Marijuana Special Report (The links on the right hand side of the page are the special report links, links on the left are latest news links)

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