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DRUG FREE IS NOT ANTI DRUG

 

It's not always possible to be:

 

One of the major reasons why the US government has such major difficulty controlling drug abuse is because it fails to define terms correctly and succinctly.   All over this website we make a distinction between "use" and "abuse" that is consistent with medical definitions. However, when political leaders carelessly apply terms, our legal system can broadly interpret what is intended and in the 21st century upstanding citizens can be turned into criminals overnight.  The message is simple: If we treat adults like children, they will behave like children; if we treat adult behavior as criminal, then we will produce criminals.

 

 

One of the misconceptions in society today is the interchangeable use of the terms "DRUG FREE" and "ANTI DRUG".  To the majority of the population, both terms are synonymous.   These terms deserve better clarity than they have been given and I was inspired to draw this line myself when I came across a blog where contributors were describing their "anti-drug".   Anti-drug is not an thing.  It's not a person.  It's not an attitude.  When someone is "anti-drug" it defines a behavior that is today acceptable and the principle reason why our court system and prisons become clogged with citizens who shouldn't even be there.   There is good reason for this and that is our lawmakers -- regardless of whatever illicit drugs they might be using -- are seriously "anti drug".   What this translates into is a serious societal disorder that gives citizens the right to persecute not only those who use, abuse, or misuse drugs for "recreational" purposes, but also to persecute those who are inflicted with illness who need to use medications in order to become healthy or maintain a normal lifestyle.

In Florida, Richard Paey, a man with a crippling back injury that causes him to experience excruciating pain, was sentenced to 25 years in a state penitentiary because the jury decided that his surplus of oxycotin was equivalent to the amount of someone who intended to solicit a controlled substance.  Mr. Paey was finally pardoned after serving 4 years.  The problem here is why did this matter ever make it to a court room to begin with and the answer to that is because in the US "anti drug" is an acceptable form of behavior when in reality it is a serious mental disorder that has propagated into an even more serious societal phobia.  If we are going to start targeting patients who are dependent upon medication, we might as well say "Healthcare in the US is garbage".   And when you hear something long enough, you believe it, and when you believe it, it becomes reality. 

On the other hand, I give praise to those who are "Drug Free" because that defines a person who is healthy and has better things to do with their time than to subject themselves to unnecessary behavior.  someone who is drug free has generally no need for medical use of a drug and does not have a need to use or abuse drugs.  I love the story about a chain-smoking stockbroker sitting in a bar drinking martinis who complains to the bartender about his wife who is "hooked" on valium. 

"Every three months," the drunken stockbroker laments, "she comes into the city to see her drug-dealing doctor who writes her a prescription for those goddam pills that she takes every time I come home from a hard day at the office, like today.  I'm just glad one of us is drug free.  Oh! can you make me another martini.  Today was a rough one."

In this case, the stockbroker is anti drug, but not drug free.  His wife may or may not be anti drug but she is also not drug free.  To be drug free one must refrain from using any chemical substance for any reason whatsoever.  Does that mean that a person who uses aspirin to relieve a headache can still be "drug free"?  The fundamental answer to that is "NO".   If you habitually resort to using medications as occasional as they might be, you are a drug user if you use the medication correctly, and a drug abuser if you exceed the maximum standard dose.  For aspirin that is very basically described as 2 tablets once every four hours.  If you exceed that amount within a 4-hour period, you are a drug abuser.  The majority of people in society use or abuse drugs.  We do not live in a drug free society.  We cannot ever expect to be a drug free society.  My contention with the Partnership for a Drug Free America is that they are professing a concept that is impractical.  As members of society, normal people realize that abusing certain drugs is not good for anyone who conducts business .  Personally, I would like to refuse to do business with an individual who is strung out on psycho-active substances but suppose the person has a medical reason for taking drugs? The answer to that is simple.  Anyone who is using drugs should be able to conduct a business transaction normally.  This is not always the case.  For example, have you ever tried to engage a conversation with a person who is taking the drug Sustiva?  What about someone who is using valium?  There are certain drugs that people use for medical purposes which cause distortion. 

What about "recreational drugs"? 

First of all, I personally don't understand the concept of recreational drug use because it's so distorted.  If I am a guest at a cocktail party, am I a recreational drug user?  To the US Government, the answer would depend upon how much once consumes.  Again, here is where abuse and use are melded into one definition.  But the term "recreational" is incorrectly defined by the government as "illicit".   What "recreational" means is "non-medical", " sportive" as opposed to a solid purpose.  Anyone who attends a cocktail party and partakes in alcoholic beverage consumption is: 1) using a drug or chemical substance; 2) consuming it for the purpose of altering their behavior (relaxing) that constitutes as much medical value as someone who cannot drink alcoholic beverages might take a depressant that is prescribed by a doctor or engages in smoking marijuana or using another drug.  One of the most popular drugs of the day is methamphetamine.  For some individuals, methamphetamine is more relaxing than alcohol.  However, you may want to categorize it's usage, "recreational" is truly a subjective term and one that can be very dangerous in a court of law.  It is the reason why many people use drugs as medication are being convicted of crimal behavior, when they are not criminals.  Our physicians and pharmacological research experts have not yet discovered what the public already practices.  In a sense, the general population that uses / abuses / misuses drugs are far more advanced than our scholars who have been educated to study drug behaviors.  What the drug war has done is to create anti-drug disorder (ADD2) that describes a person's behavior as well as societal behavior.   Thus, we live in an ADD2 society during the Electro-Chemical Age .    What we must strive for is being a healthy drug user society that prevents drug abuse, ADD2, and drug misuse through a solid foundation of Drug Use Education.

As far as "Drug Free" is concerned, I truly believe it should remain a goal with both children and adults.  The concept of a drug free workplace has been proven to be less productive in most every instance where random drug testing is applied.  However, what corporations need to do is focus on job performance.  When performance becomes an issue with an employee, there needs to be a determination of the problem and help should be applied so that the right solution can be applied. 

We can create a truly perfect society by giving every individual a personal opportunity to be healthy.  We cannot just simply exclude people, intimidate them, treat them for something that is not a problem, or incarcerate them.  The promotion to be drug free is a contradiction of modern medicine, but so is anti-drug disorder.  I don't believe that the goal is to be lean on medication.  The mistake we made in our corporations is to down-size and the best we did is by right-sizing.  Maybe the answer is that instead of down-drugging a patient, we need to start right-drugging a patient, so to speak.  The foundation for that is a solid, decent physician-patient partnership.  In today's world of workflow management, physicians have become more attentive to the clock than to understanding the needs of the patient.  But what would happen if we took away the clock and did it like they did in the old days when patients went to see a doctor and took a number and waited?  It worked back then, and it can work today.  Progress doesn't mean making changes simply to improve on quantity; progress means making changes that improve on quality in which quantity is just one important factor. 

    

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