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Drugs (a Legislative Issue)


Introduction

From earliest times, people have seen how various substances have affected us and other animals. Some plants and animals contain substances that are poisonous. To survive, we learned to avoid eating or drinking these poisons. In addition, we learned to use these poisons as weapons when hunting for food or killing pests. Unfortunately, some of us consider some of our fellow humans to be pests and we us these poisons on them.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are numerous substances that can help heal us. We have learned that ingesting, injecting or applying them in the right way can cure or prevent disease and infection. Other substances can alter our perceptions. They may deaden our pain, make us sleep, change our mood or our urges, or seem to send us on a trip to another reality.

All drugs cause some type of temporary or permanent change in our bodies’ biochemistry. Some of the affects of these drugs are desirable and some are not. Even the best medicines have side effects. When taking any drug, we must weigh the desirable affects against the undesirable ones.

Experimental Medicine

Every year, hundreds of new drugs are being developed. Some of these drugs will go on to save countless lives, but others will fail to do any good or will actually be harmful. In order to protect the public from useless and harmful drugs, the FDA requires a long approval process with numerous tests and trials. The down side to this process is that it can takes years for a useful drug to be approved and many people may suffer while waiting for it. The up side is that many people will be spared the harm that would have been done from the harmful ones.

The law needs to allow for expedited use of a drug by those people who would die or experience great suffering without it. The first requirement would be that the patient could afford the drug. For instance, the drug company was providing the drug free or at a reduced price as part of their trials, the individual’s health insurance included an option to cover experimental drugs, or the individual was wealthy enough to buy it. The next requirement would be that the patient be given all the facts about the drug, including chances of success, side effects and potential dangers. The patient would then sign an appropriate consent form or waver. In addition, the patient would be allowed access to a complete report on his or her progress and the results of other clinical trials.

Drug Misuse

Some drugs are very beneficial when taken at the proper dosage, but quite harmful at higher dosages. Many other drugs are dangerous at any dosage. Unfortunately, many people get hooked on taking drugs at harmful or dangerous dosages because the drugs put them in an altered state of mind that they find enjoyable. By the time they might see the harm being done to their bodies, minds, relationships and careers, they may have become addicted. Once addicted, it may be difficult for them to quit.

Of course, people should have the right to live whatever lifestyle they what that does not harm others. The problem with misusing drugs is that the drug users are usually hurting others. Under the influence of drugs, individuals can lose control of themselves, which can lead to violence and accidents. Some drugs can cause delusions, paranoia or rage, while others can slow reaction time, or make a person lethargic or hyper. In addition, many drug users resort to stealing in order to pay for their drugs. Even without resorting to stealing, drug users are supporting criminal organizations that result in corruption through bribes and money laundering, and that commit acts of violence such as torture and murder.

It is likely that there will always be some people who will misuse drugs, but as long as it is treated as a crime it will be difficult to educate and to treat the users. We need to create a system where those people that are going to use drugs can misuse them all they want without causing harm to others.

We would start by licensing authorized growers and pharmaceutical companies, who had not been involved in any past illegal drug business. Everything would be inspected and controlled at every step of the way to account for quality and quantity. The pharmaceutical companies would work towards creating drugs that would provide the desired effects without being as addictive and with fewer harmful side effects. These drugs would only be distributed to licensed drug clinics, which would be required to keep complete records of who uses what and how much they use. These clinics would need to be nonprofit ventures, which would not be allowed to promote the use of drugs in any way.

People wanting to use the drugs would be required to come to a drug clinic, where they would be required to read all the facts pertaining to the drug and sign a waiver. The users would receive the drugs from licensed professionals and would be required to stay at the clinic until the effects of the drug had sufficiently worn off. Since the effects of some drugs can linger, the user’s names would be added to a drug use registry to be used by certain employers to ensure that employees working in sensitive or responsible positions (e.g. pilots, bus drivers, police, and firefighters) were not taking drugs. In addition, insurance companies would have access to the information in order to adjust health insurance policies accordingly.

The benefits of this drug use program are enormous. Users could be in a safe and clean environment where they could buy safer legal drugs that would be administered using clean needles. In addition, they would have access to detailed information on the effects of the drugs and to medical help for any problems. With more information about the effects of the drugs, it should actually reduce drug use. Since the drug users would prefer a legal method, the illegal drug use should fall off dramatically, which would reduce crime and reduce the burden on the police, the courts, and the prisons. Another benefit would be reduced use among children, since illegal drug pushers would find it difficult to make a profit if they only sold to children.

Tobacco

It is doubtful that many people would smoke if cigarettes did not contain the drug nicotine. Therefore, cigarettes are basically nicotine delivery units. Given the fact that there are means of taking nicotine without the hazards of smoking, I really cannot understand why anyone would prefer to smoke.

If smoking only hurt the smoker, there really would be no problem, since people should have a right to do whatever they want with their own bodies. Unfortunately, there is the problem of secondhand smoke. Luckily, laws are already being enacted to remove smoke from many public places. I believe that this trend should continue. If smokers want to smoke, then they should do so in the privacy of their homes or in private clubs where only other smokers would be exposed to their second hand smoke.

One place where change should be made is with tobacco taxes. They should be kept or raised to a high enough level to help discourage use and should be equalized enough to help prevent interstate smuggling. Since it is doubtful that the states would agree on the same tax rate, I would suggest that the federal government set a minimum tax rate that states must use.

Alcohol

Small amounts of alcohol have been found to be beneficial, but the imbibing of excessive amounts is a big problem that kills thousands every year. Given the social context of drinking, trying to limit alcohol use to clinics would probably never work. Instead, we need to come up with ways to prevent people from going out drunk from where they were drinking.

Bars and restaurants are already licensed, so we could add a requirement that anyone who drinks in one of these establishments cannot be allowed to leave unless they are sober. If anyone leaves drunk, then the establishment would have to pay a hefty fine and could lose its license.

A similar requirement with appropriate fines should be placed on home parties where guests would not be allowed to leave unless they were sober. An exception to the rule about not leaving while drunk would be when someone was willing to take legal responsibility for the person until that individual sobered up.

Overuse of Medicines

At no time in human history has there been such abundance and diversity of drugs used for medical and recreational purposes. There are a myriad of drugs or drug cocktails designed to cure or to treat the symptoms of almost any disease or affliction you might have.

Today, there are a growing number of people taking a dozen or more drugs. Doctors and pharmacists not only need to know the affects of taking a single drug, but need to know how two or more drugs will interact. Some drugs are designed just to lessen the side effects of taking one or more other drugs. For some patients, it many come down to having faith that the benefits and side effects of all the drugs that they are taking will add up to being beneficial.

It seems to me that our world must be seriously out of whack if we need to fill our bodies with so many drugs. For instance, we need blood pressure medication, sleeping pills and antidepressants to deal with the stresses of modern life. In addition, we need diet pills and insulin shots to deal with being overweight and diabetic, which often result from our modern diet. Our modern lifestyle exposes us to pollution, radiation and toxins, and forces us to live more sedentary lives where we are all packed all closer together indoors and away from nature.

For most of us, our bodies are not designed for the modern lifestyles that we are leading. Industrial and technological change has come too quickly for us to adapt and to evolve. Given enough time, our species may evolve into creatures that might thrive living our hectic modern lifestyles, but for right now, we must live with the bodies that we have. Therefore, given the potential harm and expense of taking so many drugs, it would seem that lifestyle changes may be a better way to go. To do that, we must overcome our problems with overpopulation, suburban sprawl and sedentary lifestyles. We must also reconnect more with nature.

In the mean time, we must adjust our diets and lifestyles so that we can remain healthier and not need as many drugs. In the short term, it may be necessary to prescribe a lot of drugs in order to cure some condition. In the long run, given the costs and dangers from too many drugs, we should do all that we can to reduce the need for drugs and to limit treatment as much as possible to life threatening conditions and to major problems.

Of course this is a free society, so if someone really felt that they needed the drugs and could pay for them, then he or she would have every right to get them. The one big exception may be antibiotics. Our overuse of antibiotics has lead to resistant strains of many bugs, which could endanger us all. Therefore, we need tight controls put on antibiotics so that they can remain effective for as long as possible.

Another concern with people taking or having so many drugs is the potential for children to get into them. They will steal them from family and friends and use them without any concern for their safety. It is bad enough when children take the drugs they have stolen, but a new and unfortunate tread is for children to take the drugs to a “pharm party” where all the different drugs are mixed together in a bowl and the kids grab and eat handfuls of them at a time. It makes me shudder to think about the horrible damage they are doing to themselves. There needs to be a law requiring anyone who has children or might have children in their house to have a secure locked cabinet where all prescription and over the counter drugs are kept.

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Tipping - Eliminate Tipping to simplify getting services and remove the impression of bribery.

Last Updated:
Sunday, November 26, 2017
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