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Monday, October 29

The problem with anti-drug campaigns

I know that drug addiction is no laughing matter. It has killed several dear friends and my younger brother when he was just shy of his 21st birthday. I just wanted to get that out of the way before I proceed.

I remember when crack was the huge public menace in the 80's, although I didn't know anyone who used it (as coke was the designer drug for yuppies.) On the news one constantly heard of the fabulous euphoria that you felt if you smoked crack. They couldn't describe enough how great it made you feel. I often thought that the media was trying to actually lure new users.

One morning as hubby was driving to drop me off at the railroad station for my daily trek into New York City in 1980-something, the news guy on the radio was going on and about about the wonders of crack, I snarkily asked hubby if he wanted me to see if I could score some on my lunch hour in Battery Park since we were both disenchanted with our career choices and frustrated. Most people my age and in my line of work at the time were druggies who could afford the "good stuff." Many were burned out by the time they were 30. We were securities brokers and traders on Wall St. (Note: I vented my frustrations by playing in a punk band after work and drinking beer.)

These memories came flooding back after I read this post over at the Dilbert Blog: Why You Can’t Take Me Anywhere. Scott Adams recounts his evening at the local school where the local police were warning parents about the dangers of drugs, particularly meth. I don't know, maybe they ought to leave out all the descriptions of how good it makes you feel...
"A parent asked why anyone would take meth, given all the downside risk and side effects. One of the policemen answered that meth releases 50 times more serotonin in the brain than an orgasm. Then they showed a before and after picture that looked a lot like this one.

"So I’m sitting there, doing the calculations in my head: Okay, that’s 4.5 years of meth use, once a day, 365 days in a year, 50 times more serotonin than an orgasm…that’s the equivalent of 80,000 orgasms.

"On the downside, your teeth rot out, your skin itches until you scratch it off, you vomit, have withdrawals, possibly burn down the neighborhood, and roll around in your own filth while your life becomes a living Hell. And there is the jail thing.

"Still, 80,000 orgasms…

"I wanted to raise my hand while the “before and after” pictures were up and ask, “Isn’t that what anyone would look like after 80,000 orgasms?”

"Or maybe, “So, on balance, you’re saying it’s totally worth it? Or am I doing the math wrong?”

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