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"Evil Influences"

     Someone asked me, "You're not concerned about the evil
influence of hard drugs on our society?"
     To that question I answer this:  "I feel the same about hard
drugs as I once did about communism.  In past decades I found I
had more to fear from the forces of anti-communism than those of
communism.  Now in these days I am much more afraid of the anti-
drug warriors and their laws concerning breaking-and-entering,
confiscation and accusation-without-proof than I am of the users
and peddlers of hard drugs."
     If the operators of the heroin trade could purchase
politicians the way tobacco traders and alcohol traders can and
do, we'd have a problem.  A minor one, it turns out.  Marijuana
has never killed anyone.  Heroin kills very few people, compared
to the "legal" drugs.  Tobacco kills more than one thousand per
day.  Alcohol kills even more, but it's harder to decide which
victims to count.  Surely we should include DWI manslaughter
cases and casualties as well as alcohol-related domestic violence
     Our society has problems, and the use of heroine, cocaine
and marijuana is not one of them.  The so-called "war on drugs"
is plainly one of them.  As a society we need to decriminalize
the use and possession of the "drugs," take the profit out of the
sale of them, take away the economic motivation to create new
addicts, dismiss the Drug Enforcement Administration [Ah! There's
the rub!] and dedicate that entire budget to treatment and
rehabilitation.  When we do that, the problem will become almost
invisible, especially when compared to the slaughter and misery
due to tobacco and alcohol.
     One of the funniest scenes in modern literature is the
marijuana bonfire in CROSSWINDS, by Michael A. Thomas [Amador
Publishers, 1987].  An entire rural town in New Mexico gets loaded: 
sheriff and deputies, jailbirds, elderly uptight persons and all,  
in this hilarious scene.
     As for drugs, I worry more about the "evil influence" of all
the prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs that are
available to those who can afford them.  The pushers of those
substances have unlimited amounts of money to spend.  No one can
watch any television without falling victim to their spell and
all-pervasive influence.  
     The elderly are targeted more than the young.  The young
still tend to think of themselves as immortal and invincible, and
what they think they need are drug-induced thrills.  The elderly
are susceptible to the lure of the drug-induced illusion that
they can stay ahead of mortality itself, in spite of its ever
more threatening approach.  
     Arthritis pain, constipation, diarrhea, overactive bladder,
erectile dysfunction -- for all of these problems and more there
are drugs, if you can afford them.  For plain old diseases, like
diabetes, AIDS, cardiovascular dysfunction [don't you love that
word?], hepatitis, toothache, ulcers -- for all these and more,
there are drugs.  All you need is money.
     The legal drug mentality has infected the basic theories of
medical practice.  Cancer, still the most-feared ailment humans
can get, is not an invasion from outside the organism, but growth
processes gone awry.  Yet the medical establishment persists in
ignoring the known causes of cancer, which are radiation and
carcinogenic chemicals, like those found in smoke.  Where are the
oncologists opposed to additional nuclear reactors?
     Instead, they search for a new secret weapon, "the cure for
cancer," meaning a drug.  They're looking for a substance someone
can isolate in a lab and then patent and sell to the victim, who
can then swallow it or get an injection of it and become
instantly well again.  Some call it "the war against cancer," as
if cancer wasn't one's own body disobeying growth instructions.
     Just as with the illegal drugs, the main problem is the
money.  Illegality makes the illegal drugs profitable, and the
solution to that problem will be to remove the source of the
profit.  As for the legal drugs, once patented, the sky is the
limit for potential profit, and the mere hope of patenting some
"breakthrough" weapon keeps the entire process grinding onward. 
"We need more and better drugs!" they tell us.
     The legal drugs are dangerous because they deflect us, as a
people, from life-style changes which include becoming thoughtful
about mortality itself, instead of becoming frantic about some
imaginary elixir which will fix everything.  "You die anyway. 
Don't forget to live first." 

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Copyright © 2002 Harry Willson

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