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Drug abuse does not 'fix' stress of living

January 24, 2006|by MATT NEWTON

The late novelist and poet Aldous Huxley said, "In the course of history, many more people have died for their drink and their dope than have died for their religion or their country."

It's sad that after only being alive for 16 years, I can say that I have seen and heard of enough tragedies to believe this statement to be true.

Countless times have I turned on TV news to hear that a father of four has been shot as the result of a drug deal gone wrong. Even more often, I have heard stories and spoken with friends and family whose lives have involved drunken, abusive fathers coming home and sobering up the next day, only to do it all over again.

Junkie rock stars have overdosed, drowned in pools of their own vomit and been found dead in all sorts of compromising positions.

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Nevertheless, people persist in abusing drugs and alcohol, destroying not only their lives, but also the lives of those who love them - or anyone who happens to be around.

Life is a fragile gift as it is. Why would anyone want to endanger it by experimenting with these substances, when there are far better things to use your life for? Do certain people simply not have any regard for life, morals or common sense?

I've heard some people say that a nice joint or bottle of booze will relieve their stress after a bad day, however, I honestly don't see how such a resolution can fix anything.

People who are so weak-minded that they feel the only way they can cope with their problems is to resort to drugs need to seek professional help. Whether this means visiting a psychologist or doctor, or going through a 12-step program is up to the individual. Regardless, substance abuse should never be the answer. It doesn't fix lives, it destroys them.

Now, maybe professional help doesn't work for every individual. Each person has different needs, but there must be a better form of healing for a person's troubles.

On another note, drugs and alcohol might not be a problem for everyone; the only thing I'm criticizing is substance abuse. If you can drink, smoke, etc., and lead an otherwise healthy life, that's still not great, but at least you're not completely wrecking the world.

What upsets me is when I see the most loving and caring person turn into something like a monster. These people have an addiction, and addiction is a disease.

So what's the cure? Should we throw these people in jail? I think not. Why should someone who already has problems be placed somewhere that's only going to distort their reality further? If they ever are released from jail, they'll only be worse off than before. If a person commits crimes under the influence, that is a different story. Those few who simply have a drug addiction, though, need help rather than punishment.

I just don't understand the mentality that drug abusers possess. Why anyone would want to plague their body with dangerous, foreign substances is beyond me. Save for marijuana, which is natural. Even still, if you're smoking something, you're damaging your lungs. If you're high, you're altering your mind, and therefore running away from your problems as opposed to fixing them. You're no better than the everyday crack addict just because your choice of medicine is a powerful plant.

So, let's pretend some sort of miracle happened and every addict came clean. Can we just rid the world of drugs once and for all? No, of course not. There are, in fact, people who truly suffer and lead stressful lives. Cancer patients, for example. Such people are the ones in need of relief via the use of drugs.

Save the plants for those who really need them. Everyone else needs to wake up, come clean, and actually take control of their own lives, instead of accepting a foggy future.

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