Americans balk at avoiding a fight, a tendency that’s gotten us in a lot of trouble. The War on Drugs is a great example. We focus on solutions at Copiosis, so I’m not going to detail the drug war’s history. You likely have opinions about it too.
My guess is your solutions are based in status quo thinking. Let’s look at how surrendering to drugs causes us to win the war. By surrendering, I don’t mean simply making all drugs legal. That’s part of the solution. A lot more must be done though to ensure a peaceful victory.
Some definitions and motivations
First, by “drugs” I’m talking about those substances producing extreme dependence in the user, causing deterioration of a person’s productive function, whether “productive” means contributing to society in a positive, meaningful way however that looks for each individual. So, I’m referring to extreme use of cocaine, meth, crack, and other such drugs predominantly, not marijuana per se. I do include chronic use of more recreational drugs as well, such as marijuana and ecstasy and the misuse/abuse of functionally useful drugs such as morphine and other pharmaceuticals to the degree they reduce a person’s productive function.
When I talk about the “War” on drugs, I’m referring to the moral purpose of the war, not the war itself. By that I mean efforts to free individuals and society from the undesirable results of chronic, problem use and abuse of substances which produce negative results described above.
There are all kinds of reasons why people use the drugs mentioned above. Many begin using them out of curiosity. Seems to me (and I could be wrong) that the most socially-destructive forms of drug use exist in poor and disadvantage communities, often black and Latino, or poor white communities. Drug consumption and abuse exist in the middle-class and upper-class segments too. Those instances need attention. The most obvious example of drug uses’ effects on communities though exists in the lower income communities. At least that seems to be the case in the US.
A choice born of circumstance
By surrendering I mean allowing people to make their own choices from a position of freedom that for most people is not possible today. The kind of freedom I’m referring to is not possible while debt-based economies, corporate-controlled governments, and the need to earn a living to afford basic necessities dominate. In Copiosis economies and societies, people are freed from these velvet glove oppressors. This is a prerequisite to winning the war. Why?
All our social problems stem from a lack of personal freedom.
I believe drug use continued to the abuse stage, is a choice made out of desperation. It’s desperation born of a perceived lack of choice, freedom and options. The lack results from the economic and social context in which the choosing happens. This context includes every day stresses of living in contemporary society, stresses that are hard to single out because together they represent “daily life”.
Let’s look at the basics. If you don’t earn money, you don’t have a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, or other resources you need to survive. A very few know this is not really true, but the vast majority of people, you included, probably, believe that if you are not earning money, you’re in a precarious position. That reality alone spawns a whole lot of fears—fear of performing poorly in your job. Fear of long-term illness. Fear of getting divorce. Fear of choosing the wrong partner. Fear of others (of getting robbed, swindled, cheated out of your money). Fear of competition for jobs, money, food, etc. Fear of not belonging. Fear of not finding love . ..
The list really can be endless depending on how much you believe you must rely on (i.e. pay money to) others to get what you need or keep what you have.
You’re not consciously aware of all this on a daily basis, and they’re there just under the surface. All that is needed for these stresses to reach your conscious awareness is a single event—a news story about poor economic performance, rumors at work, scares about rising epidemics, advertisements that cater to your insecurities, suspicions that your partner is cheating, being rejected by that man or woman, and so on… Any one of these can bring your fears front and center.
Drugs offer relief from these stressors for some people. Some people can get relief through exercise. Others from sex. Others from shopping. Some turn to drugs for relief and don’t let that become a problem. Others however turn to drugs and their lives are changed forever.
The key to a society-wide surrender to drug use is realizing that the decision to try drugs is a choice born out of circumstance. If we’re going to win, we must focus on the circumstances that compel the choice and then do something about them.
Lack of personal freedom.
We’re definitely not as free as most of us would prefer. “If money were no consideration, meaning you had all the money in the world, what would you be doing right now?” I asked many people this question at the start of Copiosis, and the answers I received were a strong impetus to get Copiosis off the ground.
Making everyone more free solves nearly all our social problems, including drug use. The doing something means creating societies that are not based on traditional socioeconomics.
By providing all necessities to everyone at no cost alone, you eliminate many pressures stressing people out. I’ve written about this before and it’s not hard to think about the reality of this. If food, clothing, shelter, education and health care were all provided to everyone at no cost, most things people do to afford these things they’d no longer do, thereby freeing up more and more of their time to do what they want.
The first step is making people more free by providing a society where they don’t have to earn a living. The next step is making all drugs legal. More about that in the next post.