Tuesday, September 03, 2013


I have no idea if this is an actual growing tragedy*, or whether it's something ginned up by the news media right now.

There's a new form of Ecstasy out there, they are allegedly calling it "Molly." There have apparently been a couple overdoses, and at least one death, among teens in the area where I live. There have been a few violent acts committed, beatings and stuff, and it's alleged the perpetrators were high on the stuff at the time. (Though I thought Ecstasy didn't generally make people violent....)

And you know? While I feel for the parents who are grieving their child, my overwhelming feeling is this: If you take illicit drugs, ESPECIALLY drugs cooked up in God-knows-what back room, you're an idiot. You're playing Russian Roulette with your life.

For one thing: I have seen how our Chemistry and Biology majors make solutions or compounds in class. Now, these are smart kids. They have experience in a chem lab. And still, sometimes they screw it up. What about the person who might have no chemistry background (Breaking Bad notwithstanding) cooking up drugs in a hotel room, or in the back of a car, or who knows where? Someone who might themselves be high or be coming off a high?

And that's even assuming the manufacturer or the seller is ethical and isn't intentionally putting other stuff in the drug, or cutting it with things that might be toxic. (I have a relative who is a forensic chemist. She's told me horror stories of people being taken into morgues with the needle still in their arm from bad heroin - that's how fast it kills. And she's told me horror stories of the stuff that coke is "cut" with)

I'm not going to get into the "legalize it and regulate it" argument. I know the reasons given for that and some of those are good reasons. However, I also suspect that legalizing drugs would (a) not affect the black market in them greatly and (b) it might lead to certain idiots getting addicted, because "If the government allows it, it must be okay" and then (c) those addicts demanding SSI disability or whatever, because addicts can't hold down a good job. (I have seen statistics predicting either no change, or a rise in the number of addicts under a legalization scenario. I don't know which one's correct but I'm not sure I'm wanting to gamble on it)

But as I said: if you're buying mystery chemicals off of some guy at a party, with the intention of getting high, you're an idiot. There's a good chance you will die, either right away because of an OD or poisoning, or later, because of chronic problems brought on by screwing with your body's chemistry in unpredictable ways. I realize I was in some ways an unusually mature teenager but I knew that fact when I was like, 12. And as a result, I avoided situations where drugs were being used, just because I didn't want to be around that junk.

I suppose if you don't have much of a life, and much promise ahead of you, you maybe don't care whether you live or die, and that's part of the problem. I don't know what to do in the cases of kids who are just stuck in bad situations and don't see any way out other than becoming the drug dealer or meth cook or something. I don't know how we can reduce demand for drugs, which is what I think it would take to cut into the problems with gangs and meth labs and everything else. I mean, short of mandatory death sentences for dealers and cooks and importers and stuff, which I'm not sure would do anything more than raise the stakes and make the drug violence worse.

It's a problem I don't see a way out of, unfortunately. It's a problem we've had for a long time....apparently enough people find reality sufficiently distasteful that they're willing to risk their health to escape it via chemical means. And the cost is, in some ways, paid by those of us who have no desire to use that chemical means....the violence, the degradation of public areas (there is one park in my town that is unusable, because of the syringes that are found there), the folks who wind up in the ER because of an overdose or bad drugs or whatever and can't pay their own way, the houses that blow up because of inexperienced meth cooks.....

(*Yes, of course, if your kid dies of it, it's a tragedy for that family. However, I think a fault in our news media currently is to take individual stories and milk them for all they're worth - on the one hand, manipulating the emotions of the viewers, generating outrage when none might be really necessary, and also, stripping the grieving family of a certain amount of privacy and dignity)

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