Sunday, December 04, 2016


With the growing movement to legalize cannabis in the United States (see November elections), its getting pretty easy to argue against the ridiculousness of making a plant illegal.  But how about so-called 'harder' drugs like heroin and methamphetamine?  Well, to paraphrase Dr. Carl Hart:  "... come out of the closet and say you used marijuana?  That sh*ts easy.  Say that you used other things as well.  And you have to do it in places where people are not friendly."  Alright, lets talk about shabu then!  If you don't already know, shabu is the drug of choice of many in the Philippines and it goes by many names:  methamphetamine, meth, crystal meth, and also Desoxyn, which is meth from Big Pharma.  Here's some quotes from three books I recently read regarding methamphetamine:  

"... most young people who become addicted to crystal meth are self-medicating other conditions:  most commonly attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but also depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or the effects of emotional and social dislocation.  ...[S]ome young street people who use crystal meth see it as a way of survival.  If the necessary physical, psychological, and social supports were provided, I believe it would not take long to diminish the appeal of methamphetamine and to wean the vast majority of stimulant addicts away from this harmful chemical." -- Dr. Gabor Mate, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

"When it comes to marijuana and the party drugs like ecstasy, up to and including cocaine, I think the harms caused by a small increase in use is plainly outweighed by the gains.  That's why I would sell them in regulated stores, like alcohol.  And with drugs like crack and meth?  I am inclined to the middle option -- allow safe regulated spaces where users can buy and take them, supervised by doctors."  -- Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream

"These medications [amphetamine (Adderall), methamphetamine (Desoxyn) and methylphenidate (Ritalin)] are often prescribed for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), both in adults and in children.  They're also utilized for treating obesity and narcolepsy.  But although there are some cases of abuse, the vast majority of therapeutic users do not become addicted.  Indeed, there's some evidence that children given these drugs to treat attention problems are actually at lower risk of addiction later in life than those whose ADHD is not treated with medication. " -- Dr. Carl Hart, High Price 

Out of those three books, I would have to say that Chasing the Scream is my favorite.  It has so many tragic stories but also some inspiring ones.  After reading those 3 books, I needed a break from reading about drugs, so I'm now trying to finish Charles Dickens' David Copperfield.  Not as interesting.  I do have my eye on a few more books about drugs that look promising:  Maia Szalavitz's Unbroken Brain and Marc Lewis' The Biology of Desire.  So does this mean that I am addicted to books about drugs?