Thursday, June 25, 2009

Recreation - and Drugs

The use of recreational drugs has always been a problem in society. Most societies deal with the problem in the best way they can, usually by attempting to control and manage the problem. We don't do a very good job of it, however. Some drugs are so pervasive in society that governments accept that their use is almost universal, and simply accept that prohibition does not work. People will always find a way to counteract the prohibited items they desire.

Take alcohol and tobacco use. They're endemic to societal use as recreational drugs. We don't tend to think of them as being drugs, but they alter the chemical balance of the human body and they are injurious to the human body, mostly because people don't use them lightly, but also because they are biologically inimical to good health and destructive of human organs. Despite which, when we talk recreational drugs we mostly understand that to be opiate-type drugs.

Millions of people in all countries of the world use recreational drugs. Such drugs do have a medicinal use as pain-killers; when they're utilized for that purpose they can be useful and helpful to humankind. Their chemical interaction is useful for interacting with body processes to still the effect of physical pain. They also alter the mind-process, and that is part of their allure.

It's estimated that apart from the nuisance problem of governments legislating against the casual, unlicensed and unlawful use of recreational drugs, enforced by their law-enforcement agencies, there are 20 to 24-million serious drug users worldwide. Which doesn't sound like a whole lot of people, given a world-wide population of close to 7-billion.

For some mysterious reason, governments tend to select chemical drugs as the bugbear of society, overlooking the chemical-physical effects of tobacco and alcohol use. Overuse of all of these drugs leads to failing health and inevitably death. Loss of mental acuity, of physical integrity through addictive use of mind-altering and reason-impairing drugs.

The costs of acquiring those drugs are sometimes prohibitive to those whose impairment is so severe they are unable to function, with or without them. Leading to the commission of crimes for the wherewithal to acquire the needed drugs. Society's tab in policing, health provision, social welfare, incarceration is enormous.

It seems to make sense that if society legally permits people to smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, invoking heavy taxes on both partially to recover remediation costs, partially to make it more expensive for people to indulge, it could do likewise with light recreational drugs. When you look at the mortality figures for drug ingestion and use, it seems to make little sense to outlaw some recreational drugs, and permit others.
Statistics on drug use and mortality around the world:
Global Amphetamine use: 16- 51 million
Global Ecstasy use: 12 - 23 million
Global Cocaine use: 16 - 21 million
Global Heroin use: 15 - 21 million
Global yearly deaths from drugs: 200,000
Global yearly deaths from tobacco: 5 million
Global yearly deaths from alcohol: 2 million

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