Thursday, November 1, 2012
International Drug Users Day
Did anyone know that today, November 1st, is International Drug Users Day? Thanks to Freedom's blog for alerting me to this.
Marijuana lovers spark one up!
Opiate lovers get to a-nodding!
Stimulant lovers get to a-tweaking!
Entheogen lovers get to a-tripping!
Ecstasy lovers get to a-rolling!
Depressant (including alcohol) lovers get tipsy!
Tobacco lovers get to a-puffing!
All other drug lovers that I missed go ahead and get high. The right to ingest substances is a fundamental human right. Just because one person's choice of intoxicant differs from the officially sanctioned recreational drugs (namely alcohol, tobacco, caffeine) does not mean that they are morally corrupt or diseased (or both). It is wrong to discriminate against a person just because their drug of choice has been arbitrarily criminalized. It is wrong to wage a war against people who are involved in the production, distribution and consumption of illicit drugs. The war on drug users is fundamentally a religious war with drug users playing the role of heretics. People who use the wrong drugs are persecuted not because of the pharmacological properties of the drugs, but because to use these drugs, outside a strictly defined medical setting, is to engage in a heretical ritual act.
If we define religion broadly as that with gives meaning to life, in which case drug use clearly applies as a religious act (ritual).
Because the war on drug users is ostensibly waged in the name of health and public safety its religious nature has been obfuscated as much as possible. And so we get mired in debates about rates of drug use, the relative safety of different drugs and sensationalist stories about people making very bad choices while high. The fundamental premise on which our modern day drug wars lie is never questioned. Is it moral to wage a campaign, though a combination of medicine and criminal justice, against people whose choice of intoxicant differs from the cultural norm? There was a time where waging war against people whose religious practices differed was not only considered justified but morally right. Religious persecution is now viewed as dishonorable, but instead of being lost to history has been replaced with chemical persecution.
International Drug Users Day is a celebratory event. It is about being a drug user and being OK with that. It's about being a human being first and rejecting labels of "sick", "diseased" or "deviant."