Updated: Jun 16
Individual Liberty comes with personal Responsibility, even with reverence to illicit Drugs.
This article was originally published by Illumination Curated on Medium
Photo by Jonathan Gonzalez on Unsplash
The word “Drug” is associated with many meanings and definitions. But based on the general semantics, a drug typically applies to a substance that affects our body and mind function. A drug can change how we feel, think, and behave.
People take drugs for different reasons and in different ways. It can be prescribed as a modality to treat an ailment or abused off its indicated label for a disease. Some drugs may render our bodies physically and physiologically dependent on them if taken for a while. If abruptly stopped, the body can go through various forms of negative bodily response called withdrawal.
Indeed, drug dependence may be associated with a more irreversible phenomenon that has a psychological or mental source. We refer to that as “Addiction” or a complex state of mind exhibited by compulsive substance-seeking behavior.
Countless drugs exist in many shapes and forms, some already recognized yet some still in the pipeline. Every drug has an intended effect and unintended side effects. For whatever reason an individual uses a particular drug other than the scenario where they go through withdrawal upon dependence on that drug; such a state of an affair never precludes a sense of responsibility and rational judgment. In other words, a person going through drug withdrawal may experience severe yet transient loss of judgment. But an addicted person should always act responsibly and make judgments about their body and state of affairs. The question arises:
Should we make addictive drugs illegal to prevent severe bodily, social, and psychological complications?The answer to the latter question is notably controversial.
Before we answer that question, first, we must ask ourselves, what is the best practice to reduce the harm inflicted by irresponsible drugs without increasing other forms of precariousness in society?
Naturally, the illegalization of drugs would be thoroughly convenient across the board. Nonetheless, history has shown that the putting ban on drugs has failed to stop drug-related crimes and has increased them. In 1980, for example, 580,900 people were arrested on drug-related charges in the United States. By 2014, that number had risen to 1,561,231. More than 700,000 of these arrests in 2014 were related to marijuana. Of the estimated 1,558,862 arrests for drug law violations in the United States in 2019, 86.7% (1,351,533) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 13.3% (207,328) were for sale or manufacture of a drug. Nearly half of the people serving time in federal prisons in the United States are incarcerated on drug-related charges.
Prohibition has never been successful throughout history. Instead, it has created a haven for profiteers and cartels to vulture on people whose personal decision-making and sense of responsibility have been taken away by making them dependent on the bureaucratic system without eliminating their dependence risk on drugs.
“The penalties for violating US drug laws extend beyond the prison walls because the opioid crisis is a symptom, but addiction is a disease” — Adam Tabriz, MD
Habitual harmful Drug use is irresponsible.
Individual responsibility is the keyword for drug use and abuse. We are responsible for our bodies. Education and knowledge are the utmost effective armaments against harming our physique and psyche.
Criminalizing drugs never replace but often overlooks the value of individual responsibility by creating more criminals and outlaws. The black hat villains are held accountable for breaking the bureaucratic laws rather than paying the price for harming their bodies through poisoning themselves.
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The Public Responsibility toward Individual Ignorance
Indeed, damage caused by indiscriminate substance abuse is humungous, which does not necessarily and exclusively apply to mind-altering drugs.
Day in and day out, we use substances, be they legal or illegal, that can potentially harm our bodies. Furthermore, within the realm of our complex collective social structure, our personal decisions also burden the rest of society. That means if we fancy exercising our free choice without respecting the liberty of our fellow citizens, then we are finding ourselves ignorant. Nevertheless, all said and done with, we are still entitled to our free will and choices, only within the context of the “Golden Rule” and utter acceptance of responsibility and accountability for our decisions.
It is unfair and discriminatory, if not anti-autarky, to expect the rest of society to take on the financial and collateral burden for every decision we make. Thus, we must pay the cost of havoc done by drug use, just the same way that we would not want others to do the same for us.
There are many alternatives to becoming responsible for their choice of drug use. These include allocating a portion of the revenue driven out of the sales of drugs towards education, awareness campaigns, and drug treatment and rehabilitation programs. Still, the latter cannot be achieved if we render all drugs illegal.
Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash
Criminalizing drugs will eliminate the transparency needed if we intend to create a healthy “drug safe society.” Transparency will encourage educated decisiveness in a free society. On the contrary, criminalizing drugs will beckon the illicit market, covert profiteering environment hence is counterproductive.
“We are directly committed to being responsible and liable for our actions if we expect to earn and maintain our sovereignty. There is no excuse to shortcut by expecting others to make decisions on our behalf and pay for our mistakes through welfare lagniappe.”