Author Topic: The ravages of addiction  (Read 1659 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Online IronDioPriest

  • Administrator
  • Conservative Superhero
  • *****
  • Posts: 10574
  • I refuse to accept my civil servants as my rulers
The ravages of addiction
« on: February 26, 2011, 09:16:44 PM »
The msnbc.com link has a series of before and after photos of drug addicts (viewable a pair at a time by clicking the "next" button by the top-left of the photo). Some of you know that I spent a few years working in the media department of a long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic. Many of the people I encountered in my work were rescued from a life of "photo #2". It was both heartbreaking to see how far they'd fallen, but uplifting to see them moving through the process of learning how to live without drugs, and slowly healing in body, mind, and spirit as they moved through the program week-by-week, month-by-month.

Shocking mug shots reveal toll of drug abuse
In-your-face photos aim to scare teens straight by striking their vanity
"A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means."

- Thomas Jefferson

Offline Dan

  • A Regular
  • ***
  • Posts: 873
  • Still hatin' those Libiots!
Re: The ravages of addiction
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2011, 09:53:53 PM »
If I hadn't seen stuff like this already, I'd swear some of those pics were photoshopped or something.
Wow! If this isn't effective, nothing could be.
“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.” - Norman Thomas, U.S. Socialist

Offline trapeze

  • Administrator
  • Conservative Superhero
  • *****
  • Posts: 6367
  • Hippies smell bad. Go away, hippie.
Re: The ravages of addiction
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2011, 11:23:39 PM »
And yet, this is our future.

Drug use has been successfully de-stigmatized for decades now in film. And there is a very real push to de-criminalize and then legalize drug use.  The drug legalization advocates will use the same incremental approach that has worked so well for the anti-smoking advocates.

I have frequently claimed that marijuana is a gateway drug and some (most notably rocketman) have ridiculed me for having this point of view.  However, I believe that pot will be used as a gateway drug in a legislative manner, too.  We have already seen pot go from being totally and completely illegal to being a legitimate substance for "medicinal" usage...first for appetite management in AIDS and cancer patients and now for darn near anything if you can get a doctor to prescribe it for you.  The final ingredient for complete legalization is now upon us with the downward spiral of many state and local governments' revenue streams. 

Some will say, though, that legalizing pot isn't a big deal because it's mostly harmless.  I wouldn't hesitate to argue with that premise but that's another topic altogether.  What I would be worried about is the use of incrementalism to keep pushing the envelope after that first important hurdle has been cleared.  Because after pot is totally legal then the drug advocates will not stop there.  Why should they?

Some of the younger members of our forum may have grown up in a world that is almost totally devoid of the "evil" of cigarettes.  Now I am not a cigarette smoker myself and am only an occasional consumer of cigars but I have a strong dislike for the attitude of the anti-smoking zealots, particularly with their smug disregard for private property rights.  But here we are...you can't smoke cigarettes just about anywhere.  How did we get here?  I remember when I was a kid seeing the surgeon general on television, testifying that cigarettes were pretty darn bad.  Then, the next thing you knew, cigarette companies were required to put warning labels on their packs of cigarettes.  You used to be able to smoke on airliners.  Then you had to sit in the back of the plane.  Then they banned smoking altogether on long flights.  Then on all flights.  You used to be able to smoke in restaurants...ash trays were on every table.  Then they created smoking sections.  Then they forced restaurants to install special ventilation systems to clean the air from the smoking sections.  Then they banned smoking in restaurants altogether.  Then they banned smoking in bars.  I think I remember reading last week that they had now banned smoking in NYC's Central Park.

It was the same way with gambling.  In this case it was all about revenue for governments.  Sometime in the early eighties lotteries were pitched to state legislatures as a way to raise money for education.  Now, lottery money is used for just about anything and we don't think about it at all.  And it's an incredible tax on the poor (which will be the same result with legalized drugs).  There are now casinos darn near everywhere.  A lot of people don't think anything of it but it was only a couple of decades ago that Vegas and Atlantic City were the only places where you could find a casino.  And before that it was only Vegas.  (Confession: I am an avid poker player and I don't necessarily decry gambling.  Like alcohol use, it's going to happen anyway)  My point is that we didn't get to this place overnight.  It evolved this way slowly, in small steps.

I could make a similar illustration with what is now acceptable on broadcast television but I think you can understand where that would go.  Simply compare say, The Mary Tyler Moore Show from the early seventies with today's Modern Family.

I believe that drug laws will eventually be loosened and then eliminated in much the same fashion.  And although you can legitimately argue whether gambling is destructive (it arguably is for a very small minority of gamblers) it is impossible to say that the use of so-called "recreational" chemicals is harmless.  Quite the contrary.  And although you would probably say that we will never allow these drugs to become legal, I also believe that by legalizing pot you are putting the country on that path. 

William Bennett called the above decline in standards "defining deviancy down."  I see nothing in our society that is changing this trend.
In a doomsday scenario, hippies will be among the first casualties. So not everything about doomsday will be bad.

Online IronDioPriest

  • Administrator
  • Conservative Superhero
  • *****
  • Posts: 10574
  • I refuse to accept my civil servants as my rulers
Re: The ravages of addiction
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2011, 09:21:55 AM »
All good points Trap. I heartily second what I consider the reality - not theory - of pot as a gateway drug.

First, the obvious: Very few if any of the people you see on those photographs started out with the drug that brought them to rock-bottom. Statistics bear out that a vast majority of them smoked pot first. The converse is also true. A person who does not smoke pot is many times less likely to ever engage in other drugs. It opens the door to mind-altering illegal substances in a relatively harmless way that does not result in the utter destruction of other drugs. When the door is opened to illegal behavior and mind-altering substances, then the path to other illegal mind-altering substances is cleared, leveled, and it lies immediately ahead. You've already engaged in the behavior. You're already involved with the subculture. Now it's just a matter of moving from one substance that was fun, that did you no harm, to another substance that someone tells you is even more fun, that will do you no harm.

Second, I have personal experience. As a musician in a heavy metal band for many years, I did my share of drugs and booze until I wised-up. Apparently I was not cursed with an addictive gene, because I was always able to stop whatever I was into when I knew it was time to stop. But I smoked a lot of dope in my late-teens, well into my mid/late 20s. During that time, I indulged in almost anything I could get my hands on whenever it suited my fancy. Never opiates or methamphetamine. But just about everything else. I can say unequivocally that the marijuana subculture was the foundation of my access to those substances and the motivation to use them. I can say unequivocally that the same was true for everyone in my sphere of acquaintance, and that for everyone I knew who eventually used harder drugs than pot, pot was first.

During my time in the music business I watched many, many otherwise good people fall to drugs and alcohol, and the ONLY universal common denominator between them was marijuana use.

I know many people who did not succumb to other drugs too. For many people, pot is as far as they go. Advocates for legalization would have people believe that they are the norm, and I have seen no statistics to counter that. But even so, marijuana IS a gateway drug, and I utterly reject the effort to convince me that what I have seen with my own eyes both personally and professionally is not true.

There is the reality that we are utterly losing the "war on drugs" to contend with. I don't know the solution, and as time goes on, legalization gains momentum. It seems to me that if there was true motivation and impetus to put the hammer down on illegal drugs, the scourge could at least be mitigated. But then again, we've tried prohibition once before, and found that people will do what it takes to provide what other people want to obtain. So I don't know the answer.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 10:22:34 AM by IronDioPriest »
"A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means."

- Thomas Jefferson

Offline Dan

  • A Regular
  • ***
  • Posts: 873
  • Still hatin' those Libiots!
Re: The ravages of addiction
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2011, 10:10:23 AM »
It's a 'gateway drug' because it's illegal.
If you want to argue it's such b/c it introduces you to a certain element, one which engages in illegal activity and has access to more stuff...that's a fair claim. So legalize it.
If one would argue that it's such a thing b/c people, kids mostly, want to rebel and try something to deal w/ whatever...boredom or depression or just for kicks, then alcohol is that gateway drug, and now, w/ cigs being put out of reach, tobacco could be considered as such.
If you believe in Liberty, personal Liberty, you can't tell someone they can't do something b/c you don't like it. As IDP pointed out, prohibition's been tried, and the ensuing violence from that is something we're seeing all over again in Mexico.
I would suggest either taxing it, and using the $ to fund education or treatment programs (but I do have to acknowledge that politicians won't be able to keep their hands off it under the current system), or let the people who made the poor choice suffer the consequences. Frankly, I don't have a bit of sympathy for people like those shown in the mug shots. Society has known what the dangers are for generations. These people thought they could catch the tiger by the tail, or they just gave up on life, essentially. Either way, I don't think I or we should be stuck w/ the bill for treatment and recovery, just prevention. Treatment and recovery programs act as a safety net, and, I think, encourage teh behavior.
“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.” - Norman Thomas, U.S. Socialist

Offline radioman

  • A Regular
  • ***
  • Posts: 622
Re: The ravages of addiction
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2011, 10:35:26 PM »
I've always believed that it is a gateway drug. Have you ever compared picures of people when they were 'clean' in high school maybe, to a picture of them after being a joint puffer for a coupla years? 

What I've really noticed over many years is that people always defend their joint usage, whereas, most people, say, alcoholics always curse their getting involved with alcohol, cigarettes, etc. Marijauna is always defended howver. Why is that? Addicts always curse what their addicted to, except marijauna. 
TGIF - "Thank God I'm Forgiven"

charlesoakwood

  • Guest
Re: The ravages of addiction
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2011, 11:11:47 PM »
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 01:01:28 AM by Charles Oakwood »

Offline Dan

  • A Regular
  • ***
  • Posts: 873
  • Still hatin' those Libiots!
Re: The ravages of addiction
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2011, 06:55:19 PM »
I've always believed that it is a gateway drug. Have you ever compared picures of people when they were 'clean' in high school maybe, to a picture of them after being a joint puffer for a coupla years?  I look cleaner now!

What I've really noticed over many years is that people always defend their joint usage, whereas, most people, say, alcoholics always curse their getting involved with alcohol, cigarettes, etc. Marijauna is always defended howver. Why is that? Addicts always curse what their addicted to, except marijauna. 
Just smokin' doesn't equate to "addiction", just like simply drinking from time to time doesn't make one an "alcoholic".
And, frankly, there's no comparison between the addictive properties of booze and pot. I have more difficulty giving up chocolate than smoking. There are stronger withdrawal pains from caffeine!
“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.” - Norman Thomas, U.S. Socialist

charlesoakwood

  • Guest
Re: The ravages of addiction
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2011, 08:40:20 PM »

How long has it been since you smoked a cigarette?


Offline radioman

  • A Regular
  • ***
  • Posts: 622
Re: The ravages of addiction
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2011, 01:56:52 PM »
Dan,

people will defend thier use of marijuana saying that they are not addicted, but they never choose to give it up. Hmmmmmmm........

Just saying........Maybe, they don't fit the classical definition for addiction, but if you can't or won't stop something, then what's the difference anyway?

Like I said earlier, marijuana is the only drug that gets this type of defense. Hmmmmmmmm......just saying.....

 
TGIF - "Thank God I'm Forgiven"

Offline LadyVirginia

  • Conservative Superhero
  • *****
  • Posts: 5167
  • Mt. Vernon painting by Francis Jukes
Re: The ravages of addiction
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2011, 12:09:05 AM »
I don't know the right answer but sometimes as a society we need to just say no to things as a way of defining what's we aspire to be as a society regardless of whether it stops all negative behavior.


"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."