Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Should We Legalize Crack or Outlaw Ritalin?

I don't think that legalizing drugs is a good idea. I believe that legitimizing psychotropic medications, whether legal or illegal, will have negative unintended consequences. I spelled out some of the negative consequences that have arisen from the medical and pharmaceutical industries pushing medications on the general public in an article called "Legal Drug Pushers and Their Victims". Also, not mentioned in this article, are millions of children that are now being put on Ritalin and other stimulants to treat so called attention deficit disorder (ADD) in an effort to control unruly behavior by school-age children.

I believe that a feminized school system is attempting to reduce boys' natural unruly, defiant, masculine nature with medication. The unintended consequence, is to stifle the natural inquisitive, adventurous, and mischievous behavior of young men. Albert Einstein was unable to concentrate on his schoolwork as a boy, he got bad grades and was quite restless. If Ritalin was available during Albert Einsteins youth, he could very well been diagnosed with ADD and putt on on this medication. This would have undoubtedly have affected his creativity and intellectual curiosity. If Einstein had been medicated as a child, he may never have made the discoveries which have had a profound positive impact on our country, and humanity. I think that encouraging and legitimizing the use of psychotropic medications, will have unintended consequences beyond our current understanding. Perhaps these unintended consequences would limit our ability to stand up to, and defeat, the "bad elements" in our global society. Another unintended consequence could be that we become, as a nation, one of these "bad elements". This is likely to happen if we drift away from the universal spiritual principles that this country was founded upon, and become a nation of people who chase thrills and pleasures, and seek to avoid confrontation and unpleasantness at all costs. Well intentioned liberals and libertarians often seek a quick fix, without considering the unforeseen and unintended negative consequences.

While an active member in the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous (NA), I learned that drug addiction is a physical, mental and spiritual illness. The physical nature of the disease is the physical addiction. Physical addiction causes withdrawal symptoms, physical discomfort, and sometimes severe illness if you stop taking the drug. The mental aspect of the disease of addiction, leads the addict to continually make the same mistakes and expect different results. There is no rational or reasonable explanation for taking the risks that we do, yet no matter how severe the consequences, we continue to use drugs and put our families, our freedom and even our own lives in jeopardy. Although our lives are clearly unmanageable, we are often in complete denial of our apparent circumstance. The spiritual nature of addiction is the most insidious. We learned that we were addicts long before we took our first drink, drug or pill. Spiritual bankruptcy accompanies active drug addiction. This is is what allows us to do whatever it takes, to get our next fix. As practicing addicts, our whole life centers around the using of drugs and finding the ways and means to get more. As addicts we lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, deceive people, use people and put people around us in danger in order to get our next fix. Some of us have killed or rapped as a consequence of our addiction. There is no bottom the the depths of the spiritual depravity of an active drug addict. I have heard many personal stories in NA, and I have shared my own. Many of these aspects of addiction are true in all the stories that I have heard including my own.

The ongoing recovery offered by NA is based on spirituality as spelled out in the twelve steps and the twelve traditions of Narcotics Anonymous. In NA, we come to understand how our lives have become unmanageable. We come to see how drugs controlled every aspect of our lives. We were out of control. We had no control. Drugs had all control and power over us. At the same time we were powerless to stop using drugs. We tried to stop on our own over and over again but we couldn't. We were powerless. We could not stop or control our using them and once we were under the influence we could not control our actions. Our whole life centered around getting and using drugs and finding the ways and means to get more. After attending NA meetings for a period of time,with a sponsor, it became clear to me that drugs are a power greater than myself. The solution that NA offered was to believe that another power greater than myself could restore me to sanity. That power is God. I was taught to "Let go and let God". Don't fight it, just do God's will and all will be well. Basically those are the first 3 of the 12 steps in the NA or AA program. God is mentioned in most of the steps. The other 9 steps deal with practical ways that you can do God's will. First by taking a personal inventory, next by asking God to remove our shortcomings, then, when we were wrong we promptly admitting it, then making a list of people we have harmed and making amends to them all and then by helping other addicts get and stay clean. Thus, when your words and actions are in line with God's will, you will have serenity. Basically that is the NA program in a nutshell.

NA is a spiritual program, based on an all powerful God. NA and AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) have the best track record of success with drug and alcohol problems? Every rehab that I have been in, and I've been in about a dozen over the years, include NA or AA meetings as part of their treatment and they strongly recommend continuation of AA or NA meetings after leaving the program. Many drug and alcohol offenders are required by the courts to attend these spiritually based meetings as part of their probation. I was court ordered on several occasions. When the public sees Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan go off to rehab, do they know that the treatment is based on spirituality and a belief in God? Why is there no outrage on the part of the liberals and atheists because the state (the court) is ordering offenders to attend a spiritual program based on an all powerful God? Perhaps because the program works, but I think that the more likely reason is that the program is anonymous and it is not widely publicized that these programs are based on spiritual principles and God.

I know from my own 25 year experience as an active drug addict, that drug addiction is a spiritual disease, with serious consequences for the addict and everyone that he comes in contact with. I believe that widespread use of drugs in the US is only possible due to the spiritual depravity that is widespread in our nation. As with most problems, a solution that addresses the root cause of the problem is most effective. Legalizing and legitimizing drug use in our country will only exacerbate the spiritual depravity that we are experiencing and will undoubtedly lead to unforeseen, negative consequences. Addressing the spiritual depravity in our nation is the solution that I think will be most effective in fighting drug addiction. This solution will reduce the demand for illegal narcotics as well as reducing the widespread use of legal psychotropic medications . This is the only solution that has been proved to work as demonstrated by the fellowships of Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous.

The US has grown into a situation of unprecedented economic abundance, coupled with spiritual depravity. This is what has led us to be the leading consumer of illicit drugs as well as legal psychotropic medications. This unique situation can not and will not be self sustaining. We must grow spiritually, as individuals and as a nation, or we will lose our individual and collective prosperity as well as our freedom.

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