Drug Education: Where does it come from?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Written by Chris Carr

We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers... and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.” wrote Hunter S. Thompson in the introduction to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

What a world that is. The quantum of space allocated for stretched consciousness is one best left to the novels of addicts and the dreams of the spaced. It's a world I read about. It's a fantastic world of Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception, Carl Sagan's planetary revelations and the rise of the legendary Mr. Mojo. These are the pioneers of the pipe and we are their disciples. We all live in a yellow submarine, number nine, number nine, number nine.

Of course not all of us are mentally augmented. Some of us have jobs, children, responsibilities and generally stuff to do outside of the construction of some gnarly nachos. Drugs are a culture. One that many people seem to be part of and willing to fight for. Is it really a stretch to believe that soon marijuana will be legalized in Canada? Regardless of that outcome, it is important to not turn a blind eye to the dangers of drugs and assume it doesn't affect you. Men like Thompson are relegated to the deserts, dens and Detroit Rock City, not the streets of Guelph, right?

On May 14 in Guelph, a man was apprehended with a litany of drugs including cocaine, morphine, marijuana, Oxycontin and Methylenedioxyamphetamine. I had to copy and paste that last one. All of this drug paraphernalia was valued at around $4000, plus another $455.25 in cash was confiscated from Pierre Andre Thibault, a 41 year old man from Puslinch.

That is a healthy chunk of granddad’s medicine cabinet. Thibault was charged with six counts of Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking and is waiting for a bail hearing.

It is important to note that drug dealers aren't really the problem. Maybe this is too much of a libertarian view, but these people need customers to perpetuate their business. In order to sustain such a business as Thibault, there is at least that amount of buyers in Guelph, and that is just one guy.

I think it is important to ask why this man does what he does. If you've ever read Freakanomics, you find that lower level drug dealers do not actually make that much money. Their incentive is to hopefully become the kingpins, the Tony Montanas, the Pushermen (note the proper noun). For the same reason a kid starts playing guitar—to be a rock god—is the same reason these people will grow up to be drug dealers. Thibault is 41, his dreams of becoming Scarface may have long been forgotten, but old habits die hard and he may be good at his trade.

To be abundantly and excruciatingly clear, WATCHING SCARFACE WILL NOT TURN CHILDREN INTO DRUG DEALERS. However, being uninformed about drugs might be a contributing factor. Scarface dies. Thibault is in jail. If either of these men were more educated, then I’m sure they would have turned to a more accepted vocation. Or maybe they would have just been better at not getting shot/arrested.

I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas when I was 14. It taught me three things: firstly, Thompson is the man and secondly, Bat Country is a bad place to be and lastly, drugs will screw up a perfectly good weekend with your questionable lawyer. We shouldn't ever teach a fear of drugs, that only makes them more alluring. Just education about the substances and their effects is enough.

Arresting drug dealers is part of the education. However maybe instead of dogmatic, archaic drug enforcement laws, maybe we self-reflect on why we feel the need to stop others from making informed choices. If the masses are informed, and still divulge then there is only one person to blame, as opposed to the society that left drug education up to Cheech and Chong.

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