When I stopped smoking pot about 30 years ago, it was my understanding that pot wasn't addictive. I discovered that this wasn't necessarily the case. I found myself restless, irritable and unhappy from morning till night. I couldn't calm down, I couldn't focus, and I didn't like the way I felt. So I fixed myself a Bloody Mary, because I knew that alcohol wasn't that interesting to me, and I knew I couldn't drink very much. Literally. I would feel like I had just eaten a 12 course meal after 1 1/2 drinks. So after about 3 weeks of daily Bloody Marys, I stopped those and found myself back to being happy, energetic and productive.
And that was coming off a daily pot habit which lasted for......years. When I look around and see what people are putting into their bodies these days, I feel grateful that I never went down some of those darker paths. Never put a needle in my arm. Never smoked crack, done ecstasy, K, or PCP. Thank you, Universe, for giving me a strong survival instinct! Because I know that if I had a slightly different constitution -- or genetics -- or whatever that thing is that makes us choose the path we do -- I could have wound up in some deep doo.
So then I look at our jails and prisons, and see how many people are there because of addictions, and I've got to ask myself "Is this really working?" The answer seems perfectly clear to me. "No. Not really." From what I understand, even the police are getting tired of dealing with the so-called War on Drugs. So much of their resources, time and energy, are being spent on dealing with addiction, that they don't have time to deal with things like theft (forget about it if you've been robbed), rape, and other crimes which could really use more attention.
So what to do about it? I just learned today that the United States is the only Industrialized nation that criminalizes addiction. (Correct me if I'm wrong here.) Other countries consider addiction to be a medical problem, and people receive medical attention for it. Apparently Portugal has decriminalized all drugs, and they have found that the use of drugs among young people has not increased as a result. They also save millions (billions???) on dealing with this issue because housing people in jail costs more than sending them to Harvard.
I realize that we Americans will have a tough time wrapping our brains around the idea that drugs aren't something that should be treated as a crime, but rather a symptom of a medical problem. It's time we threw open a few more windows and let in some fresh air on this subject. There are too many unintended consequences to our current approach.
I welcome all points of view on this.......