by Kraig Klein
(Originally published in Issue 1 of The Phantom Voice)
With a surge of drug abuse becoming a growing concern, various governments and organizations have tried numerous methods to tackle the issue. Several politicians, such as West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morisey, have promised to crusade against marijuana, heroin, and opioids. Similarly, anti-drug public service announcements are continually broadcast by groups like the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids in an attempt to shock television audiences into staying away from drugs and substance-related paraphernalia.
On the other side of the issue, however, people have become more lenient—if not accepting—toward drug usage. Colorado and Washington shocked the United States of America when the two states legalized recreational marijuana, which had been unheard of in a country filled with anti-drug and drug rehabilitation programs. With Canada now approving medical heroin prescriptions to minimize the symptoms of withdrawal, a new attitude towards drug use seems to be developing, one that not only accepts but embraces the usage of substances that were previously considered to be causing a worldwide epidemic. But is this the correct attitude to be taking towards drugs and addictive substances? Should all states start allowing its citizens to smoke marijuana every day without the threat of jail and rehab?
Let’s use common sense. Would you ever purposely hurt yourself for entertainment?
Unless you’re a masochist, the answer should be “no.” People who value their lives try to stay away from anything that could threaten their lifespans. How else could fad diets and weight-loss supplements be so popular if people didn’t want to live healthy and long lives? Drugs like marijuana and heroin do the exact opposite of what people want; instead of lengthening lives, they shorten them, sometimes even ending them immediately. Although drug users may feel that a drug’s promise of granting ecstasy is more valuable than their health, it becomes all too obvious that it is not worth destroying the body for a little taste of pleasure.
Let’s look at heroin, which is often said to grant so much ecstasy that people become addicted almost immediately because they are trying to experience that immense pleasure that they initially received. Heroin has nightmarish effects on the body: it rots the teeth, inflames the gums, weakens the immune system, partially paralyzes muscles, interrupts fertility and menstruation, and destroys memories. Yet, despite the obvious signs that this drug is fatal, heroin users try to pursue that quixotic dream of heavenly pleasure by pumping more and more of the substance into their veins, speeding up their deaths even more. No amount of ecstasy is worth death.
It’s all too obvious that the crusaders against drug abuse are right. People should start recognizing the fallacy of advocating drugs and start to encourage passing bans on drugs. But maybe people don’t have this realization because modern attempts to increase drug awareness are ineffective. Television advertisements are arguably the most common way to increase awareness of drug abuse, but these “public service announcements” are too vague and extreme. For example, an advertisement against the use of tobacco (which, despite people insisting otherwise, is still technically an addictive drug due to the nicotine in it) shows an army of eldritch abominations storming into a smoking kid’s mouth via the cigarette, but it doesn’t show the actual effects of tobacco. As a result, the advertisement seems exaggerated as it is not realistic at all. If Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and other interest groups truly want to convince the public to stay away from drugs, they should be showing what actually happens to the body. For example, in the aforementioned advertisement, instead of showing that hellish army pouring into the mouth of the smoking kid, the advertisement’s sponsors should have listed or even shown the common (and actual) effects of tobacco, like jaundice, cancer, and a greatly reduced bank account as the kid spends more and more money buying cigarettes to smoke, not to mention doctors’ bills for the inevitable medical operations he will undergo to remove the health problems caused by smoking.
There should be a greater effort to raise awareness of drug abuse and to denounce the
idiotic drug advocates. Maybe then the drug epidemic will be reduced, or, hopefully, stopped.