On Twitter the other day, I saw that VICE was sharing an old article they wrote Seth Rogen Is Actually Doing Something About the War on Drugs. Before I get started, I want to make it very clear that I agree with Seth Rogen and am glad he’s using some of his power to speak up on the insane laws around marijuana.
Personally, I’m a recovering drug addict who can’t smoke weed, but I’m all for anyone who can. I voted for the legalization of marijuana here in my home state of Nevada and everything. Marijuana is a much safer drug than many of the ones that Big Pharma is paying doctors to push on us. Aside from the medicinal uses, I’m regularly baffled that marijuana is still seen as something more dangerous than alcohol when alcohol has created more addicts and caused more deaths in the last year than marijuana has in the last 100 years.
The issue I have is that when people like Seth Rogen discuss ending the war on drugs when it comes to marijuana, it’s like they’re putting the women and children on the lifeboat and leaving the rest of the people to die…even though there were more lifeboats.
If we’re going to decriminalize marijuana, we need to work on decriminalizing all drugs and for good reason. I’ll start by playing out a scenario for you that although fictional, it’s something that happens on a daily basis.
The Scenario We Don’t Want to Think About
There’s a young woman, and let’s call her Beth. From a young age, she was being sexually molested by a close family friend. She tried telling her parents, but they didn’t believe her. This went on for years. As she got older, she struggled with relationships with boys, and she was haunted by her trauma. She was constantly depressed and anxious, and just getting through the day was a struggle.
Without the support of her parents and nobody understanding, she started drinking and using drugs. She started out with prescription medications, but at a party, she was introduced to heroin. Heroin made her feel numb, and she forgot all about her trauma, so she was hooked quickly.
Her parents kicked her out because of her drug addiction, so she ended up living on the streets. In order to fund her addiction, she started selling her body. It wasn’t long after that she was arrested.
Beth breathes a sigh of fresh air for getting caught because going to jail gives her the opportunity to quit putting herself through hell. She serves her time and is released, and she has a new outlook on life. She’s still in her 20s, so she has plenty of time to turn things around, and she’s hopeful.
Well, now that Beth has a criminal record, it’s hard for her to get a job. Without being able to get a job, she becomes depressed again. She needs money to live, so she does what she knows how to do, which is to sell her body. Selling her body makes her more depressed and the men she sells her body to remind her of her molester, so she turns back to heroin.
It doesn’t take long for her to get arrested again, and the cycle continues. Each time she’s released, the time gets shorter between when she’s free and then back in jail.
The Real Solution
I’m the son of an alcoholic mother. Based on genetics, my chances of becoming addicted were 50%, and children of alcoholics and addicts have an 80% chance of developing an addiction or dating an addict. I was screwed from the time I came out of the womb, and I’m not alone.
While I’m fortunate that my story isn’t the same as Beth’s, I’ve worked in addiction treatment, and I’ve met thousands of “Beths”. I’ve met both men and women who were caught up in this exact cycle, and it’s why we need to get rid of this war on drugs.
If you heard even a fraction of the stories I’ve heard about the childhood’s of drug addicts, you’d no longer wonder why people start using drugs and alcohol to deal with the pain they’ve been through.
The solution is that we need to realize that mental health issues are the leading cause of addiction. Depression, anxiety, trauma, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and many others lead people to trying to cope by abusing substances. Until we address that, nothing can be done.
We need to realize people abusing drugs and alcohol aren’t bad people. They’re sick people who need help. Fortunately, there are some states and counties that offer drug court, which gives people the option of treatment instead of jail time, but it’s not as widely accepted as it needs to be.
So, at the end of the day, I thank Seth Rogen for discussing the war on drugs when it comes to marijuana, but we need people like him to realize how big this issue actually is. Jails and prisons aren’t designed for rehabilitation. Many of them just keep people in the system and never give them the opportunity to succeed. With that being said, it’s an election year, so pay attention to where the candidates stand on this very important issue.