ME, a hypocrite? Well, yeah, I suppose.

See, it’s my reckoning that doctors far too readily prescribe drugs purported to combat conditions like depression, anxiety and being overweight and people are only too eager to pop a pill than personally investigate the root causes of such health problems and work them out using such old-fashioned methods as self-discipline and native good sense.

My logic behind this contention is that chemicals rarely cure the conditions in question, rather conveniently stuff them in a mental drawer, and one (or both) of two things frequently happen: 1) you are taken off the drug and the condition and its symptoms return; 2) you stay with the drug and become addicted to, or psychologically dependant on, this unnatural invasion of your body.

At the same time, I believe it is imperative that street drugs not only be decriminalised, but legalised under strict government control and regulation. This would include an intelligent and well-serviced scheme of education, counseling and therapy.

Addicts no longer would be considered crims, rather patients. If willing, they would undergo professional treatment to get off drugs; those not so willing would be supplied their drugs at minimal cost as well as sanitary facilities for safe injection.

Here are just a few of the benefits of such a programme:

  • Drugs would be removed from the control of criminal elements.
  • Since an estimated 90 percent of the cost of dealing with illegal drugs encompass police, judicial and incarceration, the funds saved through legalisation would be applied to programmes for treatment and education against drug use.
  • Cops would be free to do the real police work for which they are trained instead of spending time busting some kid for possession of a joint.

It has been proved in studies the world over that heroin itself (as an example) does not lead to violent criminal behaviour. Rather, drug-related crime stems from addicts’ desperate need to obtain funds by whatever means necessary to procure their costly fix from criminal sources.

At this point I should like to make a full confession. I, Barry Rosenberg, do no drugs of any sort, street or physician supplied, unless you count a daily multi-vitamin, a couple of salmon oil caps and a magnesium tab.

My last toke of weed took place 35 years ago, and while I admit to a dozen acid trips (over a four year period) during the hippie era, my final psychedelic excursion took place half a century back. Only times I’ve used a needle has been to stitch holes in my socks and pry out a splinter. There, I got it off my chest. I’m ever so relieved.

Now, a couple of mportant words beginning with the letter P. First is the monolithic organisation known as Big Pharma (or Pharmac), a conglomerate of huge corporations that spend billions marketing drugs, ostensibly for human betterment.

As big corporations are wont to do, the initial goal of human betterment sometimes becomes overshadowed by a condition known as human greed.

Like other purveyors of legal drugs proven to be less than beneficial to users’ health such as tobacco and alcohol, Big Pharma players tend to be highly competitive with one another, and will do most anything to outstrip the other guys. Often they will rush to market with happy pills before they are completely tested or use money and influence to quash unproven natural elixirs.

Stop right here for a moment. Can you imagine your parent, spouse or child diagnosed with an advanced cancerous growth labeled untreatable by existing medication, and, as in the United States, being threatened with imprisonment for whisking her or him off to Mexico to have a go at apricot kernels? Or bat scrotums, or orangutan boogers, or whatever in your desperate situation to preserve the life of that loved one?

Second letter P is Portugal. Did you know this skinny Iberian state glued to the left of Spain was the first country to legalise all street drugs and treat dopers and addicts with dignity, compassion and professional guidance?

Portugal used to have a humungous druggie problem. They also had one of the most brutal police forces and inhumane judicial condemnations of users. And guess what? It didn’t work.

Conditions got worse and worse, and cost to taxpayers higher and higher. So following years of intelligent investigation and discussion, the government in Lisbon made a gutsy move. They began treating addicts and users, not as hoodlums, but as citizens with problems.

This was some time back, and to date the new system has performed brilliantly. Addiction to hard drugs has plummeted. Junkies are now considered human beings with fixable hangups, and expenditures on treatment and education come nowhere near the old toss-em-in-the-hoosegow expense. Addicts, present and former, now have clean records, can get (and hold) jobs, are credits to their communities.

Then there is marijuana, a weed. Oh, for Pete’s sake, legalise the damn stuff already, for whatever purpose. Legal or not, people are going to smoke it. Closing our eyes to such hardly makes it disappear. But, but, you are heard to cry, marijuana leads to heroin. Not a shred of evidence; none. Milk, however, obviously is truly dangerous since every single junkie at one time imbibed cow juice.

A number of countries and states, having closely observed Portugal’s courageous policy, are tempted. But change is not an easy concept to grasp, especially when it involves opinions embedded in prejudicial concrete. My take is, it all begins with us: common folks, especially those genuinely suffering mental, emotional, psychological anguish over some real-time dilemma.

So cometh now the kickass approach: As one who has taught, and practised, meditation and mindpower for some decades, and experienced grand results, both through student feedback and my own formerly-frazzled self, why not give the natural way of applying the gifts you were born with a shot before running to the doctor for peace in a pill. Just bloody do it.

And while I’m at it, leg reared back, toes all a-tingle: Hey, doc: how about giving a thought to practising true healing instead of pumping out those computerised scripts every 15 minutes?

Barry Rosenberg.









By Barry Rosenberg