Should People Just Say No to Illicit Drugs? 

Should People Just Say No to Illicit Drugs? 
Posted by FoM on March 11, 2001 at 08:38:18 PT
Letters To The Editor
Source: San Francisco Chronicle 
One needs to consider why illicit drugs are used. Some use them to get high, some to enhance performance on playing fields. Others get carried away by curiosity. Each election year, drugs make headlines, just as do other social issues, such as guns and tobacco. But the solution to the drug problem is elusive. We must take a firm stand to eliminate drugs which destroy the fabric of our society. 
That means educating our teens to stay clean, rehabilitating the current drug users through treatment and bringing a social awareness to the drug problem. Flow of illicit drugs must be stopped at the borders and stiffer penalties issued for dealers. Just saying "no" is not enough. Kedar Hiremath, 15, San RamonPeople should say "no" to illicit drugs. Why forfeit life for just one moment of unfocused, diluted "fun" when playing basketball with some friends? There is no need to risk killing our body and mind for drugs. I've read too many stories where young athletes are caught using illicit drugs. Their reputation is blemished, and they lose respect of admirers. Life is short enough already; why should we shorten it by using illegal drugs? Alexander Juhn, 15, San MateoThe answer depends on the person, the drug and the situation. The easy answers are the corner cases; the hard issues reside in the gray middle. Classic corner cases are kids and sick people. Should kids use illicit drugs of any sort? No. They will, but that is a separate issue. Should people suffering from cancer, AIDS and glaucoma avail themselves of marijuana? You bet. Prohibition, Native American shamans, and Deadheads show that illicit drug use has its place in segments of society. Saying "yes" to drugs, legal and illegal, is acceptable if it is mature, informed, culturally contextual decision. But for the remainder, particularly situations involving children and adolescents, the answer is a blanket no. L. A. Eldemir, 36, San FranciscoTwenty years ago, I might have endorsed experimentation, assuming moderation and that a nonaddictive personality type was doing the testing. I was more sympathetic then to the argument that viewing life through a drug- induced haze can broaden perspectives and stimulate artistic creativity. Twenty years ago, drugs were not as deadly and violent drug-related crimes not as prevalent as they are today. Even marijuana is exponentially more potent today than the homegrown weed of the '70s. Today, heroin is stronger and more accessible.Cocaine and crack are pervasive, and more lives have been lost by drug use than ever. The consequences are too costly to endorse experimentation. I cannot imagine who would reflect back on their lives and say that drugs and addiction added value or brought achievement, accomplishment and happiness. Kara Parsons, 36, San FranciscoYou can say "yes," but there are myriad responsibilities and cautions that go with it. First, you have to know and trust yourself to be able to handle it physically, emotionally and spiritually. Second, you have to know and trust the source. Third, you have to be able to afford it and not partake if you cannot afford it. Too often, addictions arise and usage goes up, resulting in bills not getting paid because you'd rather get high. Your work suffers, if you don't lose your job. You end up losing friends because you've borrowed without paying them back. Control and responsibility, my friend. Daniel LaFever, 38, San FranciscoAs a labor-and-delivery nurse for many years, I have seen all too closely the havoc that drugs of abuse level on parents and their children. Our legal system and social mores have given us a large latitude of individual freedoms. Unfortunately, it seems that many people cannot set limits for themselves. People should say "no." What we do does impact others. The line between individual rights isn't always straight and often horribly intersects someone else's rights. Get to know yourself and you will know if you can dabble in dangerous waters without drowning. Most of us can't. Dot Ingels, 52, San Rafael In theory, people should say "no" to illicit drugs. Reality says otherwise. The "just say no" campaign has failed abysmally. Pointing a finger at our youth and saying "just say no" is at best laughable. Adults should say "no"; many do not. The "do as I say, not as I do," attitude coupled with the lack of law enforcement for those adults who are able to afford legal representation if arrested for illicit drug use, negates personal responsibility and accountability. I, you, we, should say no to illicit drugs. I, you, we should insist that our judicial system enforce laws to the fullest for those who say "yes!" Cheryl Thibodeaux, 54, Burlingame Originally a Nancy Reaganism, this tired rhetoric should be laid to rest. Just saying "no" to drugs - whether illicit/illegal, prescription, herbal, experimental, or for recreational use, such as alcohol or tobacco - represents naivety and ignorance of the economic, social, cultural, emotional, physiological and perhaps genealogical basis for the so-called "drug problem." In California, the voters want treatment, not incarceration; a new consciousness, not the simplistic mantras of the last century. There is confusion perpetrated by the "war on drugs" special interests about what is "illicit," "improper" or "unsafe." People are increasingly saying marijuana is not dangerous, and are recognizing its many beneficial uses. We should begin the third millennium saying "yes" to socially responsible alternatives, and "no" to the moralistic and knee-jerk "just say no" era we have hopefully passed. Ken Norwood, 76, BerkeleyGot a question you'd like to have answered in 2 Cents Worth? E-mail us at: sunday If your question is selected, we'll send you a San Francisco Chronicle T-shirt. Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)Published: Sunday, March 11, 2001 Copyright: 2001 San Francisco Chronicle Page WB - 7 Address: 901 Mission St., San Francisco CA 94103Contact: letters sfchronicle.comWebsite:
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