Monday, May 19, 2008


FIDO ATE MY STASH... ER, I MEAN, HOMEWORK: The local paper’s three part series essentially about prescription drug abuse on Kaua`i wasn’t accompanied by a picture of an elephant most likely because they didn’t notice the one in the room.

The article seeks to find someone to blame for the way kids use everything from pain pills to hormone replacement and over-the counter-cough syrup to escape the mind-numbing tedium of school and the associated horrors of the mortifying “I’ve got zits on my pimples!” daily adolescent drama.

But a mirror would come in handy in identifying the criminal masterminds who are actually convincing them that all the authorities are a bunch of liars and all drugs are of the same lethality.

Oh, we could talk about the famous hypocrisy of pill-popping parents telling their kids to “just say no” as they sit in front of the tube that’s advertising pills for diseases that they didn’t even know they had because the ailment was just invented to sell the drug.

Or we could talk about buxom bouffant-laden rock stars saying “no, no, no” to rehab.

But we need look no farther than the current rebirth of “Reefer Madness” to see the reason why Johnny’s too long at the medicine show.

For a while there when the Drug Awareness and Resistance Education (DARE) indoctrination program was seemingly and thankfully on it’s way out, people finally woke up to the fact that it was actually encouraging kids to turn to the really bad drugs because they told them that marijuana was the same as all drugs- deadly killers that will turn you into a vicious and violent maniac.

So of course kids tried pot and guess what- they giggled, got hungry and fell asleep. And when they woke up they “realized”- in their own rebellious, adolescent, parents-are-idiots way that the whole DARE program was a lie- and if they lied about pakalolo, they lied about crystal meth and everything else.

But nowadays with the rebirth of post hoc proctor hoc “gateway” nonsense and phony studies that the DEA and big-money anti-drug organizations paid for, it’s like it’s the 50’s- or even the 30’s- all over again.

Only now in addition to the big money there is for quasi-governmental groups and treatment centers for the scourge of “marijuana addiction” there’s also big money in it for law enforcement’s eradication programs.

Now the one drug that is fairly innocuous and is secretly used by half the country is unavailable too. If there is any truth to the “ pot leads to other drugs” claim it’s because people have tried it, liked it, didn’t see any monsters and didn’t die but now they can’t get any more.

“Drugs Are Really Expensive” as the alternative DARE states. And pot is the most expensive of all now that there isn’t any around

So where to go? The medicine cabinet. Or a bag of glue... or if that’s too expensive gasoline. Or for drug connoisseurs there’s that dirt cheap “ice”- one $5 toke and you’re high for days.

It isn’t a matter of advocating drug use for kids. It’s a matter of harm reduction which is the real way to deal with substance abuse.

It isn’t the substance that is the problem- it’s the person with the addictive behavior. No matter what we do there are going to be people who have that problem. While most people will recreationally smoke pot, drink alcohol or even sometimes use other drugs they can take or leave them. But a certain number of people with addictive personalities can’t and they will abuse whatever they get into whether drugs or sex or Oprah.

Here’s some shocking news- teenagers are people. And they’re not dumb-and certainly not nearly as dumb as those of us who think we know everything. But then again they may be smart but they are not always wise.

A certain number will try drugs and a small number will abuse them. But by trying to essentially brainwash the “take it or leave it” section of the kid population by telling them what their own experience tells them is a lie causes them to hop onto the same slippery slope we all use.

Someone lies to me so that person is a liar- that’s being smart. It isn’t that much of a leap then to say that everything that person says is a lie. Even the “wise” among us do that every day. Kids party with that “knowledge”- we adults build political parties and religions out of it.

To take a traditional, medicinal herb that is probably the greatest natural, palliative cure for more general symptoms than any other and make it out to be something it’s not is possibly the second greatest crime in modern history. Putting people in prison for it is the first.


Katy Rose said...

Anyone who read the Garden Island’s two-part series on teen drug use could not help but feel tremendous sadness and compassion for the Matthews family. Most of us cannot even imagine the weight of such a loss.

Yet this should not stop us from forming a critical analysis of the information in the articles, particularly since media attention to issues is often the pre-curser to the formation of public policy.

What, exactly, did we learn from these articles? That youthful drug experimentation has been, and continues to be, at a relatively steady level, with no significant changes? That occasionally drug use has terrible consequences?

Or more ominously: that we should increase our surveillance in all areas, including spying on young people?

I worry that an acceptance of greater measures of surveillance and privacy-invasion within our own homes paves the way for an acceptance of privacy-invasion in society as a whole. We have been witnessing this trend gathering momentum and force over the last several years.

First, we are presented with news of a terrifying “crisis.” Then we are convinced that we should relax our commitment to civil liberties to combat it. A recent example of this was the urgent push to impose drug-testing on public school teachers after a small handful of teachers were caught with drugs.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither.”

Anonymous said...

Actually, the quote is, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Unknown said...

Great piece and great comments. I recently read a quote about the White House "Drug Czar" John Walters, who is always coming up with bizarre studies about the evils of marijuana use.

The quote is attributed to Jim Stephens, who is with an organization called All Positive Options. Here's what he said about Walters:

"At his current pace, I'm sure that before his term is over, John Walters will have established a causal relationship between marijuana and crop circles, as well as the reason why we can't get a decent sonar reading on The Loch Ness Monster.

John Walters is nothing more than a "message force multiplier," which is basically a nice, soft euphemism for highly paid liar.

Mr. Walters wants us to believe that prohibition is the only thing that will address the substance abuse issue. Well, prohibition didn't work with alcohol, and come to think of it, it didn't work when God prohibited Eve from eating the forbidden fruit.

So using Mr. Walters own flawed logic, I can only conclude that he feels he knows a thing or two more about prohibition than God.

No wonder he's paid so well."

Andy Parx said...

The spin machine is ridiculous and uses really bad science Katie. I love the new one where they found that teenagers who were depressed smoked pot more than the rest, so they “concluded” that pot causes depression, not that kids who were depressed found that the best medication wasn’t the pharmaceuticals but smoking pot to alleviate their depression- something millions of non-Prozac using adults have found.