Kids and Substance Abuse
Kids aren't dumb;
they look at the world around them and wonder why Tobacco,
which is highly addictive and kills more people than any other
drug, is legal and available without a prescription. It's
important that kids and adults talk about Substance Abuse,
so we've provided a a few sample questions (and answers) to
get the conversation started:
you call a highly toxic substance that:
- is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths every
- addicts will continue to buy no matter how much the price
- slowly destroys the health of those users who aren't killed
- finances terrorism and devastation around the world?
If you guessed
"Petroleum" you guessed right ("Tobacco"
is also a correct answer). We are a society of Oil Junkies,
and our Habit drives us to support robbery, assault, and murder
around the world.
Like any Drug Cartel, the Oil Industry exploits the weakness
of users to get them hooked, and does whatever is necessary
to keep them hooked. Petroleum is the most abused substance
in our culture today.
What is Substance
is a subjective term: some people consider any use
of certain substances (mostly those that fall into the arbitrary
category of illegal drugs) to be abuse. There are certainly
substances that are so dangerous when used in certain ways
(like the materials used in Nuclear Fission; the smoking of
Crack Cocaine; using Gasoline to power cars, etc.) that it
is best to avoid those uses, but substances are not, in and
of themselves, Good or Bad.
Allowing individuals to decide for themselves (with help from
their family, friends, and communities) whether their substance
use is abusive seems like the fairest way to go.
But what about
are certainly substances that need to be approached with great
caution because they're physically addictive (like nicotine,
heroin, alcohol, crack, and many prescription drugs). There
are also substances that individuals and societies can become
psychologically addicted to or dependent on (petroleum, money,
fast food, and marijuana, to name a few). Providing thorough,
honest information to people who might consider using any
of these substances, and free treatment to individuals who
do become hooked is the most humane way to deal with the problem
of addiction and dependence. Visit our friends at harmreduction.org
for more information about sensible substance abuse interventions.
why are some substances illegal and others not?
Three words: Money, Power and Control. The History
of Prohibition is the story of the cynical exploitation
by politicians and business interests of public ignorance
and fear. While there are certainly people who sincerely believe
that drug prohibition is a good and necessary thing, there
is no convincing argument or evidence that the substances
that our particular society has put in the category of "Illegal
Drugs" are, in and of themselves, any more dangerous
or harmful than substances that are used legally every day.
Tobacco, Alcohol, Prescription Drugs, Petroleum, Pesticides,
and too many more to list; these are all legal Substances,
which, when misused or overused can ruin people's lives, health,
and environment. Alcohol has ruined far more lives (and caused
many more deaths) than Heroin; why is one legal and the other
corruption, violence, and... huge profits. Profits not just
for drug traffickers. Military and "Intelligence"
organizations, Police departments, and the contractors who
supply them with equipment have all found drug interdiction
to be hugely profitable.
used (along with, and often in combination with, war) to distract
people from deeper social problems. Enron? What Enron?
that huge numbers of people; almost all of them users or smalltime
dealers, end up in prison. More prisoners mean more profits
for owners of privatized prisons; for the industries that
use prisoners as labor; and for the companies that provide
goods and services for prisons.
and directly causes corruption at all levels of government.
So should we
just make all substances legal?
Maybe, maybe not. Completely decriminalizing so-called
soft-drugs and making the most harmful hard-drug (petroleum)
illegal is tempting, but probably not a good idea. We do need
to admit that the War On Drugs is a complete failure. Then,
instead of allowing an elite group of greedy and power-hungry
people decide what we will and won't use, we need an honest
evaluation of the dangers and benefits all of the substances
we use. This won't be easy, but it will be something better
than easy; it will be real democracy.
collection of references on drugs and children