as much as the scarlet letter is considered a relic of a barbaric and cruel people. Most liberal cities, and even conservative cities that have libertarian judges, are now seeing that there is no solution in imprisoning a smoker of marijuana. Instead, many cities have seen a better policy in giving out tickets to those caught smoking marijuana. In most cities and states, these tickets are comparable to the traffic tickets that drivers sometimes incur. Policy has even been liberalized for those who use heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Instead of thinking that imprisonment will heal them, it is understood that many of these people suffer from an addiction that is beyond their control, and that they are seeking help for their problems. Finally, society is starting to accept the idea that drugs are something that people go to when they are in search of a good, and many people survive lifestyles that involve frequent drug use, but there are some people who become addicted junkies that always suffer for their substance. Every year, it seems that sentences and punishments for drug possession and drug use are becoming more lenient; they are becoming more ethical. I look forward to the day when I can go to my local grocery store and a buy the top-brand, high-quality, imported marijuana in bulk packaging, the way they sell one pound tobacco bags. I am looking forward to this day, but I know in my heart, that with people like these, it may very well take some time.
What is the way that people in our society receive their drugs? When you look at the legal method, we discover the closed society of prescription drugs. There is Xanax and Buspar. For Epileptics and paranoid schizophrenics, there is Depakote and an entire class of anti-psychotics. For those in a minimum of pain, there is acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. For those in mild to moderate pain, there are elixirs of codeine with acetaminophen and hydrocodone with ibuprofen. And for those in extreme pain, there are the powerful painkillers of oxycodone and oxycontin. There are medications to treat social anxiety, paranoia, psychosis, depression, insomnia, and just about any emotional problem that mankind could conjure up through his awkward and thoughtless habits of life. Doctors give out prescriptions to the patients they examine and the drug/dosage depend on the doctor’s assessment of their patient. A patient’s access to the drugs necessary to curing a human ailment depend completely on the conscience and policy of the doctor.
What does this mean? It means that there is an office filled by a human, between a person and their need for prescription medication. Anyone who has studied human history will know that people are easily apt to corruption. Doctors, in their right to prescribe any medication to any person, have committed some great and unforgivable acts of cruelty. From bribes and “incentives,” they have prescribed medication that was from only certain pharmaceutical companies. One of the megacorporations pays doctors to prescribe only their medicine, no matter what the ailment. In the end, the patient is forced to overpay for brand-name medication that isn’t helpful to his condition. Then again, there is the reverse case, where people are willing to pay for high-cost doctors, simply because the doctor will prescribe a controversial drug that others wouldn’t. Whether because of pressure from the medical community, the moral community, or the religious fundamentalists, many doctors will not prescribe the drugs that patients need. But, when a doctor does, he charges a great deal. They are the drug dealers of the acceptable world. Again, the poor people who can’t afford efficient doctors are the ones who must suffer for this social organization, an arrangement of social units and social order that we were born in to. In the end, a system has been created to suppress the will and desire of the poor people, while the wealthy and ruling class is allowed to break the laws they create.
Then, between the anti-psychotics and the benzodiazepines, between the sedatives and the stimulants, there is the world of illegal chemicals. Marijuana, for example, has limitless applications, not just in the industrial world, but also in the medical world. While these facts remain to be true and accepted in the scientific community, the white house is still full of conservatives and regressive personality. These feudal lords do not have daughters, sons, nieces, or nephews who are suffering from a terrible illness that only marijuana would treat. Our representatives have failed us. But many states have opposed the federal ban on marijuana. There are states that have allowed their physicians to prescribe marijuana to its citizens. Even in an oppressive, imperialistic government, the subordinate authority structures openly refuse to follow the federal government’s legislation. The federal government allows certain exceptions to their drug laws. Needless to say, this fact goes underreported. The Air Force uses Methedrine for its pilots. President Nixon once ordered that a news commentator (Jack Anderson) be given food laced with LSD before going on air. [“The Ends of Power,” by H.R. Haldeman, page 6, 1978.] Before 1974, Ibuprofen was not available in the United States. An extremely effective and extremely safe drug was banned by the FDA. Less than one hundred years ago, American policy allowed the use of heroin as a painkiller. Are we led to believe that authority today is immutable, even though it has a history of error and lies? Every year, the DEA puts new drugs on emergency scheduled status. New substances, which produce nearly identical effects to illegal drugs, are discovered, popularized, and then outlawed. At what point are these people going to realize that they are only chipping away at the rights of happiness and liberty of the Americans? Hypocrites have no answer.
What would happen if you were seriously hurt? Perhaps one day, the universe was so unforgiving in its sad and depressed rules of nature, and fate was against you; you were hit by a car, or accidentally cut yourself deeply while cutting vegetables, or someone attacks you and tries to kill you. And your doctor, in his mercy and forgiveness on behalf of mankind, this priest and witchdoctor to god of the new era, has prescribed you Percocet, or Oxycodone, or Hydrocodone. But, perhaps both god and goddess of fate had been plotting against you, and you are referred to a doctor who prescribes you ibuprofen. You might have lost a finger in an industrial accident. You might have scarlet fever, running a temperature of one hundred and seven. But, after waiting in line for a half hour, seeking relief that is only available through a prescription, you get something you could have bought right away at any store, an over-the-counter medication. This is the misery that we must recognize as human based systems of authority. Doctors have been given a power almost like judge, jury, and executioner. Only the physician can be allowed to let a person have a medication. One doctor might look at a patient in pain, and say, “I can imagine what misery he is going through. I will give him a strong pain-killer because I know that is what he needs.” Another doctor, one of less virtue and “more morals,” would look at the same patient and say, “No matter how much pain you are in, I know that the pain-killers and other drugs I could give you would only do you more harm, they would morally corrupt you.” For, in fact, there can be no other excuse when denying a patient pain killer medication.
In the beginning, the idea might have been, that a person educated in pharmacology would be more effective in writing prescriptions than the patients, but the idea has changed in to an oppressive legal institution. People know their own bodies the best and only a person who is given all available information can make the best decision for themselves. There are changes that must be adopted by the present system so that patients have access to drugs that they need. The authority of the patient should be accepted as the only necessary authority to a prescription. The conservatives and followers of tradition can make all the arguments that they wish. “But, the intoxication of the chemicals might corrupt the individual,” or “If we let them use the drugs that only some people need, they might become addicted.” As the enemies of progress make these arguments, one thing is happening: the people who need these drugs, who need these chemicals in order to stay alive and out of pain, are denied what they need. The medication that is necessary to prevent HIV from deteriorating into AIDS costs pennies per dose to produce. On the legal market, doses can go $100, but the illegal market has seen and laughed at this markup, selling doses for less than $10 or $5. Personally, I once went to a physician when I was suffering from Mono, and he gave me a codeine elixir; the prescription quickly ran out, and I went to another doctor, who refused to refill it or give me any painkiller prescription. The astoundingly bitter contradiction rips apart the flesh of my brain: “Why is it that the one key I have to escaping the pain that burns me, is in the hands of fickle and unreliable physicians?” This is not an attack on the professionals of the medical community either. I am related by blood and friendship with many of them, and all of them have agreed with me that these changes need to be adopted by society at once. As I said, while conservatives argue about the stupidity of the “reeferhead movement,” there are people whose bodies are rotting in hospitals. They pray for death, because the one drug they need to cure their ailment, Marijuana, has been deemed a menace, a serious threat to their and our security.
I’m a Humanitarian. But, I’m also a revolutionary. If there exists in this world a substance that can make me happier, that can satisfy my desires, that can aid me in helping others and in making myself feel more liberated, why am I required for the local government to accept it? It is well known that the masses were supportive of Civil Rights for a long time before the government would ever accept it. It was also well known that Women’s Suffrage was accepted among the population before the American government was ever close to accepting it. Systems of power rarely leave minorities without some sense of exploitation. These drugs are illicit chemicals that my legislators and judges believe is a harm to me, and despite the fact that these legislators and judges do not understand me or my body or my wants, they feel they are fully and completely capable of using violence, coercion, and force in order to make me abstain from drug use. As I said, I’m a revolutionary. I’m not waiting for the government to outlaw poverty, war, or corrupt politicians, and I’m not going to wait for this council of arbitrary people to legalize something that I already know is good for myself. Martin Luther King Jr. never waited for the law to grant civil rights to African Americans. His message was, and always will remain, “When the government has denied the people their right to life, liberty, and happiness, it is their duty as friends of freedom to go to the streets.” Those who feel that the law should always be upheld, whether on the matter of drugs or not, are enemies to the revolution… Why I am going to let these people in positions of power control my actions, when I don’t know them, and when they don’t know me? Solution: ignore the law. Use the drugs that you want, but never use them carelessly, foolishly, or ignorantly. Know the risks, know your body, know your drug. If we are ever going to get drug use accepted by the majority of Americans, then we have to be smart and responsible with our habits. That is the greatest suggestion I can ever make to my fellow members of the drug liberation movement.