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Monday, 16 May 2016

Drug Addiction is Expensive

Today I read an article in the Guardian by a young, 28-year old man. He's been a secret drug junkie, but not, in his own words, a drug addict. His is the 2 grams of cocaine which he has from a single weekend in a month, to a few weekends in a month. And it costs him a lot to indulge in it: 400 pounds per month, about one quarter of his income.

Photo of a young woman using a dollar bill to snort white powder
Young people sometimes treat drug consumption as a recreational group activity. Wrong choice. They're messing with their future.

Herd Mentality

But he feels that he is young. And all his friends, who are indulging in the same habit, tend to think the same. So much so that he reinforces their views, and they reinforce his, and there is born a herd mentality, where people in the herd tend to follow the herd. "Follow the crowd", they will tell you. "I go with the flow." And yet nobody has ever thought of asking where that flow will lead to?


Incidentally, this reminds me of a creature called a lemming. They jump off cliffs in droves. And they do it without thinking of what it leads to.... extinction?

Update: Actually, lemmings don't jump off cliffs en masse. According to the website Mental Floss:

"It turns out that there is no proof that an assemblage of wild lemmings would actually drive themselves off of a cliff at all, but rather the myth was perpetuated by a 1958 Disney documentary called White Wilderness, in which the filmmakers manually ran a pack of lemmings off of a cliff to make for good television. The staged suicide turned out to be a critical success, as the movie went on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature." (Source: Mental Floss, Do Lemmings Really Run Off Cliffs To Their Death?)

A Real Waste of Money

Anyway, back to the young man, here are his regrets, in his own words: "I would truly hate to tot up all the midnight cash withdrawals I’ve made throughout my 20s, the time spent making shady deals late at night in the backs of cars with men you don’t really want to bump into after dark. In a heavy month, my drug spend can be around £400. That’s a quarter of my income." (Source: Guardian, My secret life as a high-functioning drug user.)

He knows the problem. His father was afflicted with it: "My own father died when I was 19 because of complications that arose from his chronic alcoholism. In the bad times, he would drink a bottle of vodka a day. He would steal and lie and get unspeakably angry. Other times, he would be lovely and affable and completely sober. I can’t help but wonder when the habit became an addiction for him. I’ve never allowed myself to linger too much on his memory, because in the end he wasn’t a nice man; but every so often, going past a mirror, I catch a glimpse and pause. I can see him in myself and think that maybe it’s time to stop, or slow down." (Source: Guardian, My secret life as a high-functioning drug user.)

And yet, he is still young. The young are sullied with an artificial sense of immortality, as though they cannot be hurt by anything in this world. They fail to understand that hurt can come when you least expect it. Snort a little too much white powder, and you won't be cute like Peppa Pig. (She snorts in an innocent way, mind you.) Snort a little more, and it's the Pearly Gates for you. So why do it?

For reasons like these, conservative Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore have strict drug laws. When one is trafficking drugs, it's punishable by death, and that's death by hanging. They don't have that in the UK. And that's why something as wrong as snorting white powder becomes acceptable, even though, the user has a gut feeling that it is wrong. Slightly wrong, definitely an offence.... but not punishable by death. Not in that country, anyway. And it's bad.

How To Solve The Problem: Heavier Sentences

Here's a simple solution, of how to cure young people like that. Impose a death penalty for drug traffickers. Impose a heavy punishment for those who consume it. There's even a punishment of caning for certain drug-related offences in Malaysia.

In the UK, cocaine falls under Class A Drugs. Possession is punishable with up to 7 years prison, and/or an unlimited fine. Supply and production is punishable with up to life in prison, and/or an unlimited fine. (Source: Gov.UK, Drugs penalties)

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