The War on Drugs and reasons why people use illegal substances?
So what are drugs and why are they used?
The so-called "War on Drugs" has been going on for many years but hasn't got very far with stopping the problem of drug abuse. All over the world there are billions of drug addicts and both legal and illegal drugs cause serious problems. Fellow-hubber Teresa Schultz has requested that I write a hub with the title Why do people use drugs? so here goes.
First of all we need to define what drugs are. There are many types: "soft drugs", "hard drugs", illegal drugs, medical drugs, stimulant drugs, opiate and painkiller drugs, hallucinogenic drugs, tranquilisers, hypnotic drugs or sleeping pills, and commonly used things like coffee, alcohol and tobacco that are really drugs too.
As far as we can tell people have always used drugs. This is nothing new and the term "War on Drugs" is just a label that gets used by politicians and the media.
Drugs are used to relief pain both mental and physical, to inspire creativity, for experimental purposes, to gain energy, to relieve stress, relaxation and to get sleep, to experience the world in a new way, because it is part of a religion such as Rastafarianism where followers all smoke marijuana ("Herb"), peer pressure, in youth to show how rebellious you are, because of peer pressure and to overcome social difficulties such as shyness.
Types of drug
Drugs can be divided into several groups: the stimulants like caffeine and amphetamines, sedatives or hypnotics such as Mogadon, Quaaludes (Mandrax) and any of the barbiturates, painkillers and opiates such as morphine and codeine, minor tranquilisers such as Valium (Diazepam) and major tranquilisers such as Largactil and Halpoperidol (Haldol).
There are also mind-altering drugs that could be termed hallucinogens, entheogens or psychoactive substances. Drugs in this category include LSD or "acid", psilocybin in magic mushrooms, ecstasy and mescaline.
Some drugs have varying effects depending on the amount taken and if consumed in conjunction with other drugs, food or drink.
Medical or pharmaceutical drugs also include anti-virals, antibiotics, anti-depressants, anti-convulsants and many other categories. Some medical drugs are used illegally for their effects. Some prescribed drugs are used to treat addictions to others both legal and illegal.
It is a fact that most people use drugs even if they may claim otherwise. Drinking coffee or tea is not thought of as drug-taking but it is. So is drinking wine or beer.
A drug culture
We live in a drug culture. Many singers and musicians use drugs or have done. How many really famous rock bands or singer-songwriters can you name that haven't done so?
Much the same can be said for actors, writers, poets, artists, and increasingly we hear of drugs being used in sports and the penalties against those caught doing so.
Young people are told not to take drugs and then they see that their heroes and heroines use these substances. They may know of famous people who have used drugs for years such as Howard Marks aka "Mr Nice" who was famous first for being a convicted "drugs baron."
Marks made his fortune and notoriety dealing cannabis. He has openly smoked it since he was released from prison and is an outspoken advocate of legalising the drug.
Nowadays he is a best-selling author a DJ, public speaker, media star and a film has just gone on general release about his life.
Again with cannabis, fans of reggae music and a singer-songwriter such as the late great Bob Marley, know that Rastas smoke "herb" regularly so they may seek to follow their example.
Some authors such as the late William Burroughs and Hunter S. Thompson made no secret of their drug use.
Drugs such as alcohol are part of a social tradition in many western societies even though the evidence of harm caused by alcohol is overwhelming. Smoking tobacco until recently was also a 'normal' social custom and still is for those smokers who resist the new laws and campaigns.
It is common knowledge that many celebrities use cocaine, and part of the reason for this is because they can afford it. Drugs and wealth go together just as much as drugs and poverty.
Celebrities actually benefit from their drug use in some ways. For example, someone like the late former-Beatle John Lennon owed a lot of his creativity to drug use. How would The Beatles have created their psychedelic era classics like Sgt Pepper or Abbey Road if they had not been taking LSD?
There are many drug songs such as Heroin by The Velvet Underground, Codine Blues by Janis Joplin, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by The Beatles and many more.
If a star goes into rehab they gain a lot more exposure in the press and if they manage to beat their habit then they are lauded for their great achievements.
In many parts of the world the cash crops that are grown are not food crops but plants that produce drugs. Cocaine from the coca plant, opium and its derivatives such as codeine, morphine and heroin from opium poppies, and of course marijuana, tobacco and coffee.
Vineyards cover large areas of the world as do hop fields to produce the ingredients for wine and beer.
Until the world reaches some sort of utopia, if ever it does, there will always be a large number of people using drubs, legally or illegally.
Copyright © 2010 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.
- Erowid Character Vaults : Famous People and their Drug Use
Famous People and their Drug Use, by Erowid
- Drug - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bob Marley Talks - Alcohol vs. Herb
The Velvet Underground - Heroin (song only)
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