On Drugs 2016: The reality is drugs in many shapes and forms are here to stay, but what exactly are they doing to you and how do we reckon with that?
In the old days, Americans used to smoke and drink. At least that’s what we like to remember. In reality, there were plenty of speed freaks and opiate users, some reaping the whirlwind as WWII amphetamine rations found there way into the general public. In fact, as long as America has been America, our citizens have found ways to get buzzed and self-medicate. The situation is just a lot more diverse and public today.
These days, it’s hard to find someone who is truly sober. Be it caffeine, nicotine, benzodiazepines, SNRIs, or what have you, most of us have a drug that we like and find useful. And in the day of mental health awareness, the stigma is starting to wear off of drugs. The question isn’t so much, “Do you do drugs” any more; it’s “what drugs do you do, and what does that mean for you?”
Today, we’re in a sea of chemically altered humanity. And it leads to a different set of acceptable behaviors than those discussed in Emily Post. Being able to buy cigars online has given rise to a new tobacco culture, and being able to buy LSD on the dark web has given rise to a new generation of psychonauts. As all of these individuals now live within blocks of each other and talk about their experiences on Facebook, we’re developing a new way of thinking about how to do our drugs.
- Don’t Behave Badly. America is still learning to hold its liquor. Alcohol remains the most socially expensive vice, found in the bloodstreams of a high percentage of ER patients and suicide victims. Abuse leads to chronic health problems and bad behavior, breaking up families and making some people really hard to be around. In the diverse drug marketplace, legal and illegal, there are countless substances to get ‘wrecked’ with. We can’t keep up with the onslaught of new compounds, just as the Feds can’t keep up with regulating them. Whatever you do, act like an adult, that’s all we ask.
- Get Mental Help If You Need It. Let’s face it, we’ve all got some stuff we need to work on, personally speaking. If you use drugs to self-medicate, medicate in other ways. Therapy and mental health care are two ways that people can learn to live their lives without relying on drugs forever. Some people need chemical aide their whole lives long, but a multi-faceted mental health approach is always superior to a lonely relationship with a single drug and nothing else.
- Know What You’re Doing. It’s important for people who use drugs to understand what they’re doing. Learn the ways your chemicals affect your body, and make responsible choices as a result of this knowledge. Don’t simply take what a doctor will give you, or what you can get through your social network. Vigilance in this area could add years to your life, and make them happier.
Drugs are part of our lives. They always will be. To live better, it’s time to start understanding ourselves, and reasons why we use the drugs we do. These chemicals can be very helpful, and understanding them as a part of our holistic selves will make them more useful still.