"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Heaven" and drug rehab

Today, Sunday, I had all my household chores done and nothing really to do. I had just finished a good book and had not started another. So, there I was "clicking" through the channels for worthwhile movie to watch. I had the "preview" window on so that I could check out actors and actresses (yes, I am old-fashioned: men are actors, women are actresses) and to try and get an inkling of what the movies might be about.

I came across a movie titled "Heaven." The "blurb" said it was about an Italian policeman who falls in love with a widow (played by Kate Blanchett) and tries to help her kill a drug dealer. Okay, I gave it a try.

The movie was in progress and I heard the heroine states something to the effect that she knew of 13-year-old children who had been through drug rehab.

My immediate thought was that if the "drugs" were legal to adults there would probably be a whole lot fewer 13-year-old who had access to them. "Drugs", of course, being any of the presently illegal ones.

My second thought was how many 13-year-olds, and teenagers in general, have been through rehab for the narcotic drug, alcohol?

At "Focus Adolescent Services"
I found out that, in the U.S.A. there are at least three million teens who are "out-and-out alcoholics"; that there are 5,000 deaths per year of people under 21 that are alcohol related; and that for people, age 15-24, the leading causes of death are alcohol-related auto accidents, homicides, and suicides.

I didn't finish watching the movie. I didn't find out if, somewhere in the movie, the protagonists imbibed in one alcoholic beverage or another...although they probably did. How many people do you know that don't drink alcoholic beverages? I wonder if the writer of the movie thought about alcohol and 13-year-olds and drug rehab, or if the writer just thought of the presently illegal drugs?

I don't believe in prohibition...of any drug. I believe that adults should be able to make up their own minds about drug use, including alcohol and tobacco (tobacco being the number one preventable death-causing substance). The so-called war on drugs wastes money, wastes lives, causes more problems that it solves, and violates the rights of otherwise honest adults from the free use of their bodies and their minds where such use does not violate the rights of others. (Most rights-violating behavior surrounding the presently illegal drugs is caused by the prohbition, not the mere use of the drugs.)

Having said that, I must say that I do believe that, due to the nature of the adolescent brain--both physically and emotionally--all addictive drugs, nicotine and alcohol included, should be prohibited to adolescents and that strong punishments should be provided for adults who provide those drugs to them.

Teenagers need to let their (basically) scrambled brains--striving to change from childhood to adulthood--to settle down and straighten out before they start scrambling their brains with drugs.

Drug rehab and 13-year-olds. Three million out-and-out teen alcoholics. When I went to a web site for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for teens--Students & Young Adults--there were "click-on" articles for all of the presently illegal drugs, but none for alcohol.

Alcohol is a socially acceptable drug. Presidents, politicians, prosecutors, policemen, and millions of people everywhere drink this dangerous and (to some) addictive drug. It's endemic in our society. Still, it is a drug...a narcotic drug. And it causes so much more harm than all the illegal ones as to boggle the mind. But mostly, we ignore that and focus, as did the movie, "Heaven", on illegal drugs. Why?

As I said above--and I am as sure of what I am saying as I am sure that I am alive right now--if we legalized the presently illegal drugs to adults, then it would be harder for minors to get them. Why? Why not as easy as alcohol?

First, it's easier today for minors to get illegal drugs than alcohol. Age is not a factor in buying an illegal product, only money is. Do your research. Second, all of the presently illegal drugs, except, possibly, marijuana, are not socially acceptable drugs in the general sense as is alcohol. Therefore, if those drugs could only be bought by adults showing valid ID, and the punishment for selling or providing those drugs to minors were severe, then it would be harder for minors to get them.

As Americans, generally speaking, we are hysterical about drugs. And yet not hysterical enough about alcohol, which many see as a rite of passage, but which the statistics show as an initiation into lifelong problems for millions of teenagers. We need to stop being hysterical, that is, emotional, and become more logical about the realities of drug use.

No comments: