When I was in my 20s I often talked about music, drugs and sometimes politics. I was thinking about that the other day and I noticed we don’t talk about drugs nearly as much as we used to. For one thing, other than marijuana, there aren’t a lot of drugs around for people my age. There is some heroin and a lot of meth, but almost all of my friends avoid such hard drugs. Some of them smoke marijuana and a few take pills that they, or someone they know, get from doctors.
This is also a time period I call the “age of fear and paranoia.” Ever since the 1980s “war on drugs” campaign, people have been very closed mouth about drug use. Up until the 1980s people often bragged openly about the drugs they like, mushrooms (Psilocybin ), LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide), MDA (Methylenedioxyamphetamine) and others. Most psychedelics except mushrooms have disappeared from the drug scene leaving only marijuana and hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.
So is it better that drug use is hushed up and not talked about? Well, the harder drugs seem prevalent. Treatment programs such as Narcotics Anonymous seem packed when they hold meetings—meaning that many more people are still using. Drugs are not just for kids today. People in their old age seem to end up in treatment for using the hard drugs. The same old people also use legal prescription drugs that we commonly see and hear about from our mainstream media hype.
I don’t think filling people with fear has really stopped drug use. It doesn’t contribute to stopping or helping addicts. It has lead to a sense that we really can’t trust people we don’t know. Our neighbors may turn us in if we have a locked shed in our backyards. It’s hard to make friends when you have to guess whether or not our new neighbors, who just moved in, are really just narcs trying to spy on us. My fears do not come from selling or using drugs—I just don’t want to waste time making friends with fake people who are just wanting to take advantage of me.
I think it is sad we live in a time of so much mistrust. We can’t trust our government, its leaders or the police who are supposed to be protecting us, not fooling us into jail sentences. Fear and paranoia are feelings that are at odds with a free society where people can be comfortable with themselves.- សតិវ អតុ