Saturday, June 20, 2009

Drugs are bad, m'kay?

Okay, I've gone over some very disturbing facts in a few of my previous blogs, and there's no reason to drag them up in their entirety now. For now, let's talk about how this whole thing pertains to us..."us" being your average Joe or Julie. There's a good chance that someone close to you has been addicted to mind-altering drugs at some point in your lifetime, if it wasn't you personally.

My reasoning behind this post is because of a conversation I had with a very good friend of mine the other day, regarding "addiction issues" afflicting certain members of his family. We tend to agree heavily on many socio-political issues, but disagree heavily on many others. He brought up some of the issues he was facing, and posed the question "Do you still think the legalization of drugs is a good idea?", and I responded with a question of my own, mainly due to knowing full-well that he already knew my answer to his.

After hearing of the issues concerning his family's issues, and also understanding my own family's issues, I asked him this one simple question: "DID THE CRIMINALIZATION OF DRUGS PREVENT ANY OF YOUR FAMILY'S PROBLEMS WITH DRUGS?". It's a simple and straight-forward question, with a simple and straight-forward answer. Of course, that answer is a deafening "NO".

The fact remains that there are three kinds of people in this world, as far as any particular drug is concerned. Those who have never used that drug, those who once did use the drug but no longer do, and those who currently use drugs. I can assure you that drug criminalization (with the possible exception of marijuana) has absolutely zero bearing on the use of drugs.

The reason I list marijuana as the one exception to this rule is because marijuana is so clearly "safe" (by medical standards, when compared to all other drugs, legal and illegal), and most people who actually enjoy marijuana and understand its relative "safety" factor simply don't use it because it is illegal and the legal headaches simply aren't worth the high.

With the exception of psillocibin mushrooms and a few other natural hallucinogenics, there is no mind-altering drug available today that will not present adverse health problems, regardless of legal status. You'd be hard-pressed to find any reasonable person that is unaware of the inherent safety issues associated with alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, meth, smack, XTC, et cetera.

Alcohol will destroy your liver and your brain. Cigarettes will erode your lungs. Cocaine, horse, and meth have serious addiction issues that no one really needs to discuss any further, because any idiot knows what a "junkie" is. I could go on, but you get the idea.

The same holds true for prescription drugs, which believe it or not, happen to be the biggest "drug problem" in this county. Prescription drug addiction is, according to court records, the second-most common reason for divorce in this county behind online dating/pornography websites.

Regardless, everyone knows that drugs are bad for you, it doesn't matter if you're munching Xanax, smoking Marlboros, or snorting meth. The shit will kill you, eventually...and, like it or not, there's not a single anti-drug law on the books today that will actually prevent anyone from using drugs. If drug laws did any good, we wouldn't be arresting users and dealers in record numbers, like we are today.

Okay, so it's obvious that drug laws don't do any good to remove the ills of society...but what purpose do they serve?

First and foremost, they let politicians get elected. "Getting tough on dope" isn't going to prevent your house from getting robbed, it's just going to prevent it from getting robbed by the crackhead that got arrested for possession last night. Ask anyone who's been ripped off, and that person will tell you that it doesn't really matter who did was your stuff, and it was stolen. If drug users and dealers are getting arrested in record numbers, does that mean we're "cleaning up the streets"? Hell no, it doesn't! It means we've got record numbers of people dealing and using dope!

Drug laws (until recently, when the SCOTUS ruled that this was illegal) gave the police an excuse to rifle through your vehicle when you got pulled over for an ALLEGED traffic violation, because they were able to arrest you if they had a "hunch" that there were drugs in the vehicle and you wouldn't consent to the search...and you wouldn't be technically arrested for refusing to consent to a search, but for not using a blinker. You see, after you get arrested while driving, your car gets impounded and "inventoried" (read: SEARCHED) for illicit substances, guns, et cetera.

Drug laws, as evidenced by the "Police Beat" section of today's Brazosport Facts, utilized the "Drug-Free Zone" section of our state penal code to enhance the charges against two individuals, merely because they happened to live within 1,000 feet of a school. They weren't arrested for selling drugs to children, going to the school for any reason whatsoever (let alone, for the purposes of dealing drugs), or having anything to do with drugs at school...yet, they were arrested for having drugs in a private residence, and had their charges enhanced by the mere fact that the home they resided in was within 1000 feet of a school. They had a bag of pot larger than 5 grams (less than 1/4oz, or roughly $10 worth of pot), and that alone made them eligible for this enhanced charge. They also had 2.7 grams of MDMA (roughly 10 pills). If I'm not mistaken, their baggie of pot was listed as "larger than 2 ounces", or roughly $100 worth. Had they lived in an apartment on the other side of the complex, they wouldn't have been charged with "Drug-Free Zone" charges. What's more, they weren't even arrested in the process of dealing drugs...they just had a neighbor get angry about something and call the cops with an "anonymous tip", and got busted for a personal-use amount of pot and pills. They now face charges that, upon conviction, will make them eligible for parole when they're slightly older than I am. They aren't even old enough to buy beer yet. What's more, there's a damned good chance that any of their friends they might have shared with will now merely be forced to call someone else. Probably, in the same apartment complex.

How many people have been arrested for marijuana, and had their children taken away, merely because they may have had a bag of pot in the vehicle with them when they got pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt? When they didn't even have their children in the vehicle with them? That's a family destroyed...or, at the least, forever scarred by constant fears of CPS intervention. And for what? Mere possession of a plant that's infinitely more safe than Bud Light?

When we look at all the harm that our drug laws are doing to this nation, and then look at the fact that our drug laws are NOT curing ANY of this nation's social ills associated with drugs, it's obvious that we as a society need to spend more time educating our children about drugs, instead of persecuting those who use them merely because they do use them. Theft, murder, child neglect, and Driving Under the Influence are already illegal. Use our LE resources to combat these actual crimes, instead of combatting the mere use, sale, and/or possession of drugs, and you've got a safer society. It's just that simple.

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