As someone who went to school when many of his friends were taking drugs to get really stupid, I was stunned to read that students today are taking drugs to get really smart.
As the Associated Press recently reported, students around the country are taking prescription stimulants like Ritalin to help them study and that the demand for such drugs is bound to increase.
I’ve always been ambivalent about both medicinal and recreational drugs. I believe people of all ages are scammed into taking too many drugs for medicinal reasons and too few people are taking them for purely recreational ones.
Yes, I know recreational drugs have wreaked sad havoc on many lives, but I also know many sober individuals could benefit from frequent doses of strong hallucinogens (think Dick Cheney).
It reminds me of what noted pharmacological philosopher Willie Nelson once said when asked what effect legalizing marijuana might have on the crime rate. “It could be very beneficial,” he said. “I know marijuana’s kept me from killing a bunch of people.”
I was student soldier in Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” war on drugs. It was always awkward whenever someone tried to hand me a joint. Not because I’d rudely refuse, but because I was drinking double fisted throughout the entirety of the 1980s.
I was one of those students who never had trouble holding my liquor, but there were many, many nights when I had had trouble simply setting it down.
Plus, I was mostly a failure at the recreational drugs being offered me, ones that involved lighters, bongs, and over-inflation of my lungs. I’d always fumble the fire, bump the bong or otherwise struggle with the mechanics.
Worse, I’d cough, wheeze, and my red eyes would pathetically tear. I’d look so innocent my hookah-hogging friends would laugh hysterically. Of course, these were the same friends that would laugh hysterically at shows like ALF and H.R. Puffinstuff.
Times have changed. Anti-drug zealots jailed the gentle and iconic pipe-selling pot comic Tommy Chong (and has there ever been a better job description?), they made even medical marijuana a crime and began drug testing at jobs that have nothing to do with public safety.
For me, that last one was a turning point because I labor under no such tyrannical job restrictions. I’m one of those lucky individuals who is truly his own boss, and if I was at all responsible in that supervisory role I’d have fired myself years ago -- not for drugs -- but for gross and habitual indolence.
Now, I believe those of us who work in places that don’t drug test have a social responsibility to test drugs on behalf of those who can not.
So one of these days I’m seriously planning on getting more involved with recreational drugs. It just seems like it might be a good issue for a guy like me to mount.
I can experiment and write informed and typically typo-laden essays about the results. I can show up late to lobby legislators that money spent in the endless war on drugs could be better spent in the endless war on terrorism. I can become a happy advocate in persuading scores of uptight people that a little toke or two might lessen the tension contorting their lives.
Go ahead, tell me I’m wrong. Tell me I’m setting a bad example. Tell me there are hidden dangers to which I’m ignorant.
Call me stupid.
I hear they’ve even got drugs for that now, too.
Causes Chris Rodell Supports
Democratic National Committee, UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, Sierra Club, Smile Train, Salvation Army