Saturday, 27 July 2013

Just Because All Drugs are Addictive Does Not Mean All Drugs Are the Same

The average amount of coffee I consume in a day
So goes the argument:

If coffee is a drug and tobacco is a drug and tea is a drug, then people who say class A drugs should be illegal are hypocrites.

Okay, so when was the last time a popstar or Hollywood celeb was on the front page of a newspaper under the headline...

'My Coffee Hell.'

'My Cigarettes Nightmare'

'My Tea Shame.'

Who has brought forth their confessions in public and said, "My addiction to tea/coffee/fags destroyed my family/work/home/relationship life."

The answer of course is none. I don't mind at all that to all of us the label 'drug addict' can be applied, but that does not mean that all drugs are the same or that tea and coffee should be banned.

Where are the 'coffee and tea anonymous' meetings?  I should really attend. Of course, these are not drugs that destroy human relationships, lives, families. Now, you may contest that these drugs do not destroy lives because they are legal drugs. Surely no, this is not why they do not damage society. Surely it is because the effects of these drugs are manageable by the individual and that, even if the effects are not managed by the individual, the harm done to society by them is negligible.

In other words, there is a reason why Governments have hitherto taken a pragmatic view on which drugs should be available for social purposes and which drugs should be banned, penalised and discouraged. This is why illegal drugs are classified for the purposes of law in terms of crime and punishment.

Next comes 'the argument from alcohol'. Alcohol's availability is a social good. It only becomes a social evil when it is abused and drank solely for the purposes of total intoxication. Alcohol can be drank in moderation - indeed, we can even drink it to excess from time to time and feel the consequences later on. That said, alcohol by itself is not a social evil - it gladdens the heart, fosters concord when consumed at social gatherings, but fosters street fights or violence when abused or taken to extremes.

By itself, alcohol is not a social evil. It not always is, but can be, drunk sensibly and even if at times we fail, because we are sinners, we are encouraged to 'stay sober for your prayers'.

So here is the clincher:

You cannot smoke crack in moderation. You cannot inject heroin in moderation. Smack does not foster social harmony or cohesion, neither does crack. It is all about self-annihilation from the start. It serves no social purpose. You cannot snort cocaine in moderation. These drugs will, very quickly, take over your whole life if you do not get help. That is why they are social evils. These drugs will, very quickly, ruin your family, cause you to forget your duties, dominate you and enslave you until you care about nothing - n-o-t-h-i-n-g - but the next fix.

Just because all drugs are addictive does not mean all drugs are the same - that is why not all drugs are legal and some are banned substances for the protection of society.

I would concede that, at this time, in this evil time, alcohol abuse is so harmful and so great, especially among children and the young, that an argument could be posited for the banning of all alcohol for sale in shops for the social good, if children cannot be stopped from obtaining it and becoming alcoholic. To ban alcohol in this country may not work, but if it were proposed, we should consider it as a self-sacrifice for the good of children in this generation that we should consider it.

Yet, even that would not be because alcohol is evil, but that our age has lost its ability to protect children from the associated dangers of alcohol and, indeed, so many things created for human enjoyment.

There are some 'drugs' that our condition - affected as it is by what St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas called 'concupiscence' - can cope with and still maintain its social order, structure and cohesion, based on married and family life. A family can gather around a table and enjoy a bottle of wine. They cannot gather around a table and enjoy a bag of smack. Heroin, cocaine, acid, ecstasy, 'meow meow', crystal meth, ketamine, marijuana are surely not among the drugs that our condition can cope with because as every day in Brighton tells you, these things do nothing good in society, but only ensure the abject enslavement of all who take them, more or less immediately and with destructive consequences for all.


Patricius said...

Well said.
On the other hand...
I might just be tempted to form a Coffee Addicts Anonymous group!

jaykay said...

Good points, well made, Bones.

That they should have to be repeatedly made in the face of those who constantly bring up "alcohol is a drug therefore..." with the triumphant confidence that they have just delivered a crushing master stroke of argument, is a chilling reminder of how education in basic logic is so sadly lacking.

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