Saturday 18 May 2013

Who is against psychoactive drugs?


Essentially nobody.

Almost everybody uses drugs active on the brain, and altering of emotions, arousal, energy and other brain functions.

Some people take all kinds of drugs, including those known to be harmful - the drug users/ abusers who take opiates, stimulants, downers, psychedelics and so on.

Many people take prescribed psychiatric drugs, more and more people - especially over the whole course of their lives. 

Those who are skeptical or hostile towards prescribed psychiatric drugs almost always use non-prescribed drugs such a caffeine, alcohol or nicotine.

Those hostile to any or all of caffeine, alcohol or nicotine will almost always take prescribed psychiatric drugs when advised to.

And some take other herbal or herbally-derived psychoactive drugs such as Ginseng, St John's Wort etc 

Who is left after subtracting all these groups? Very few - I don't think I have ever met such a person.

Essentially everybody uses psychoactive drugs. For the overwhelming majority, it is not a question of whether to use such drugs, but a choice of which drugs, at what dose and frequency.

Everybody need to know about psychopharmacology.



The Crow said...

These days I keep any and all drug use to a minimum, with the exception - as you mention - of caffeine, and of very minimal alcohol.
It is good. It is better. It is the way to go.
Then, when the need is gone, some may be used as conditions dictate.
But not, any more, as a matter of course.

Anonymous said...

Not as a matter of principle of course. But it seems to me that most of them are meant as smaller evils used in countering larger ones.

Use for pleasure is fraught with difficulties. And can only be good when it is structured by ritual and deeply ingrained habit. So as to guide this usage and embed it within a general culture of self restraint and not mindless pleasure seeking.

Examples being caffeine use that is structured through the drinking of coffee. Or alcohol which was structured by making a difference between hard drink and beer or wine. With all the rules and norms that attended this usage. All of which was enforced primarily by society itself.

The moment these culturally embedded norms disappear, the general responsible use becomes impossible in society. Making the substance once again a greater evil than a good.

Orthodox said...

Yes, but when I am getting a buzz from alcohol I don't shoot guns or drive my car. If I take alcohol every day to cope, people think I have a problem.

Bruce Charlton said...

I would say that the main problem drugs in the West are prescription drugs (see David Healy's Pharmageddon and Robert Whitaker's Anatomy of and Epidemic); and alcohol - which is a drug with a very high rate of very serious problems.

MC said...

I've often thought that I would benefit career-wise from taking some drug to aid concentration (I'm sure some of my classmates did), but I'm far too spooked by the possibility of losing myself. I like myself.

(I may be the rare exception; I've never had any of the stuff on your list except caffeine, and even then it's just a Coca-cola every month or so. Not bragging, I've just never felt the need)