Drug use is part of our society's DNA.
Drug use is part of our society's DNA. monkeybusinessimages

Why the war on drugs is doomed to fail


IT'S funny how with every passing generation, the dodgy things we sought out as kids or young adults are suddenly off limits when it comes to our own children. It's not always the case, but more often than not, hypocrisy abounds.

Plenty of parents know what they did was bad or illegal but with their own kids, well they're not going to be able to do that because having road-tested stupidity, you know it's not all that's it's cracked up to be. Right?

Of course, removing risk-taking from your children is fraught with its own set of consequences. It doesn't mean you let them free range until they drop dead, but letting them learn for themselves is part and parcel of encouraging broad human development.

Take drugs for instance (who doesn't these days). Legal and illegal. The line between those two categories is like the Gaza strip, one side is despised and shameful, the other glorified almost compulsory, and yet the consequences of both sides can be just as socially destruction and lethal.

And yet we persist with this notion that some drugs are good enough that we can include them in our daily lives, while other are bad and should be banned outright.

For some drugs this is true, but whether we need the law or our parents or politicians telling us which ones are bad so we don't touch them and which ones are good so we use them, but only in moderation, is becoming a tired old argument.

People, including young people, know what drug addiction looks like and who the main culprits are when it comes to destroying lives. But we tend to focus on the illegal drugs like 'ice'. You see those addicts having violent episodes in hospitals and the families destroyed by it in documentaries and on the news. Equally destructive when it reaches that level of addiction is alcohol. Same deal. Violent episodes and families destroyed by it. But it's legal. And you don't see the same coverage of that in the media.

That's because it's also profitable which makes it a marketable commodity. So in alcohol's case, it's glamorised and normalised to the point it's presence in society is a very skewed one. There's no skewing of ice. It's insidious, but imagine if the marketing people were allowed to sex it up a little. That example might be a stretch too far, but what about those other illegal, less psychotic inducing drugs like a 24-hour party pill. Is applying the same blanket rule for 'ice' to Ecstasy, a less insidious more commonly used social drug, the most helpful way to manage the latter's use in society.

In a perfect world for parents and the police, young people wouldn't feel the need to ingest a pill at a music festival so they can enter another realm, escape the everyday and save money by only drinking water for the entire gig. But that's never going to happen.

Firstly because we don't want them to stop wanting drugs. We just want them to substitute illegal ones with alcohol. Another reason for keeping those pesky pills illegal.

But those darn kids just don't learn do they? How many more are going to have to die before they stop them from taking these illegal pills all together?

Lots more probably. At least as many as there are dodgy manufacturers out there making this stuff which will never be tested because that would mean crossing the Gaza strip.

But that's the stuff parents should be afraid of. Not the clean pharmaceutical grade blends that the popular suppliers are distributing (because they are doing this, and the kids want them to keep doing this).

Just because something is illegal doesn't mean there's not huge marketing operations out there. Sure the police catch a handful and halt them briefly but they're not the ones making the lethal products. And while one is stopped, there are plenty of other operators at the ready to pick up the slack. This is always the case with an industry when there's plenty of money to be made.

So what's a society to do when it come to the hypocrisy of having drug use in its DNA?

Using substances for relief, to heighten an experience or have a good time, is not a new concept or illegal depending on what drug you turn to.

There's always going to be a down side to any of them, legal and illegal. There are millions of people who use them and live fully functioning lives. When something is as widespread and mainstream, albeit underground, as 'pingers' than regulation of some form is the only path to go down if they want to prevent necessary deaths.

Being prudish about it, or pretending it will lead to the end of civilisation, will ensure desperate decisions are made by those who are just seeking a good time for a few hours during an event. These people are not living in the gutter. Most are happy, healthy functioning people who have jobs and friends and loving families.

Enough with the stigmatisation. Go pour yourself a wine or chug a beer and have a good hard look at the hypocrisy in the mirror before climbing atop that moral high ground to search for a Utopia that doesn't exist and never will.

Young people deserve better than a clunky old model fuelled by self-righteousness and fearmongering. It didn't work when you were young, why would it now?