Thursday, September 3, 2009

Drug Policies in America

America's drug policies are not rational. They never have been and are not currently. America's drug policies have been driven by ulterior motives for religious, moral, and political reasons not based on scientific facts and rational public health policies.

There will be a series of articles on GCASA Cares which will explore these societal and political attitudes towards drugs and provide tools to use in a critical and rational analysis.

Please leave your comments.

There are a number of observations which will underlie this analysis:

1. Human beings have altered their consciousness with chemicals throughout their history. There is nothing unusual or new about this phenomenon. What the motivations are for altering one's consciousness may vary somewhat, but the fact that human beings have always done this, do this now, and will do this into the future is indisputable.

2. At various times and in different societies the altering of one's consciousness with chemicals has been either encouraged such as for religious reasons and celebratory reasons or demonized and made criminal as in prohibition. The reasons for a societal attitude and mores seems somewhat arbitrary based on ideological and political beliefs not on any rational analysis.

3. The use of chemicals for mood altering experiences is best analysed on a use - abuse - dependence continuum. In other words, there can be a recreational or other positive use of some mood altering chemicals such as for pain reduction and anesthesia for example, but these same chemicals can be abused contributing to personal and social dysfunction or physical negative consequences, and these same chemicals can become addictive and habituating leading to further and more serious physical, psychological, and social problems.

4. Some drugs are stigmatized for poor reasons such as marijuana or readily accepted such as caffeine and alcohol. This phenomenon of stigmatization and social acceptance often makes no rational sense when one considers the effects of the drug on the body or the negative social consequences of its use.

It is apparent that most people have not carefully and thoughtfully thought through the drug policies that influence their attitudes, and behavior. Many substance abuse professionals also have not examined drug policies with a critical eye. It is hoped that this series of articles will help inform professionals and lay people so that they will more critically examine the drug policies in America and that improving these policies will improve our public health.

The posts on this theme will be tagged "Drug Policies"

1 comment:

John Bennett said...

There are drug laws in some southern states that have not been changed since the early 1900's. One in particular holds the death penatly for a second offense of selling pot to under age children.