Demonizing Drug Use So Kids Don’t Try Them, Does That Even Work?
Should we demonize drug use for the youth in order to deter them from consuming them? One Reddit user believes so as he wrote in this post entitled, “Demonizing drugs among young adults and adults (even teens) should be the norm, not imposed by an authority, but imposed amongst each other”.
User “Freshwings421” wrote this in a subreddit called “Unpopular Opinion” and bases his claim solely on his own experience with drug use and addiction. Nonetheless, in the spirit of expanding our knowledgebase it is always wise to at least listen to the point of view of others.
I personally disagree with the Redditor’s position, but then again I think that the author knew this when he chose this subreddit to post on. In this article we’re going to be looking at the context of his post and see whether that would work on a larger scale. Is it possible to shame people or scare people away from drug use? Would it actually be effective and could there be a potential downside of this kind of strategy?
Let’s take a look at what Freshwings421 had to say.
I remember when I was a teenager, around 15 I think, I went to this birthday party and a few kids were doing drugs, alcohol, marijuana, and inhaling glue to be exact. At the time, I used to train Taekwondo, was in a pretty good shape, and I steered away from drugs because my parents framed them as this demonic substance that once you fool yourself and “try”, it just snowballs and goes downhill from there.
As I grew older, my moral convictions changed, and I did try a few drugs just for the sake of it, and then I found myself a junkie struggling between financials, my mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing, I remembered my parents’ words and how true they are. They turned out to be, indeed, as demonic and bad as my parents describe them. Over at r/addiction, you see many posts of people saying that it’s not worth it, it’s not enjoyable, it’s deadly, it is this and that, and after recovering from a few addictive substances I had in the past, I completely agree. I keep interacting with people who are under the influence of drugs, a classmate who smokes a joint everyday, a flatmate who drinks to death in the weekend, and these interactions are by far the most dysfunctional, irritating and annoying interactions I’ve ever had with a person. The agitation, the broken communication, the decoherent narrative all remind me of how bad drugs are.
I still go to some parties right now as a 25 years old guy, and I still see people using drugs and frame them as this majestic and beautiful thing that you have to try. You also see movies and such glorifying them but the reality is, they’re just not worth it at all. As a person who broke free from all addictive substances (even caffeine), I have never in my life felt better. Call me vanilla or boring, I just think the new norm should be that drugs, in any way shape or form, should be demonized socially. – Source: REDDIT
NOTE: I added “BOLD” to critical parts of the conversation so we can understand where the poster is coming from.
Alright, so let’s break it down.
I remember when I was a teenager, around 15 I think
I steered away from drugs because my parents framed them as this demonic substance that once you fool yourself and “try”, it just snowballs and goes downhill from there.
From what we can infer from this language is that “Freshwings” comes from a predominantly religious family. Due to the framing of “demonic” it doesn’t indicate “Catholic” but rather a traditional Christian upbringing. Based on the notion that the parents believe that if you “try drugs once you’ll be hooked”, indicates that they are probably more traditional than Pentecostal. Thus, the initial interaction of Freshwing is framed within a narrative that not only are drugs “bad”, but potentially could mean eternal damnation due to the corruption of one’s soul. Hence the “demonic” aspect of the assertions.
I did try a few drugs just for the sake of it, and then I found myself a junkie struggling between financials, my mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing
‘Freshwings’ ignored the threats of eternal damnation and disobeyed his parent’s will by consuming drugs. In other words, it is within this part of his post where he proves that “demonizing drug use” doesn’t deter drug use.
Additionally, one can wonder how things could have been different if drug use “wasn’t demonized” but was openly discussed in a light of curiosity and knowledge. Perhaps if Freshwings wasn’t forced to explore drugs without any guidance and understanding – he could have learned about self-control, set and setting, and using substances with a purpose.
However, the author’s addictive personality got the best of him and soon, he was under the thumb of his addictions. He reiterates that “addictions are bad and ruin people’s lives” by suggesting that people go and check out a subreddit dedicated to addictions.
I keep interacting with people who are under the influence of drugs, a classmate who smokes a joint everyday, a flatmate who drinks to death in the weekend, and these interactions are by far the most dysfunctional, irritating and annoying interactions I’ve ever had with a person
The Redditor claims that he hates hanging out with drug and alcohol users yet “keep interacting” with the very people he hates. Why wouldn’t you be hanging out with people who aren’t taking drugs? Why endure the irritation and disgust? Is it friendship if you loathe being in the presence of someone?
These are all inconsistencies within the narrative trying to demonize drug use and justify the Redditor’s position on the act.
As a person who broke free from all addictive substances (even caffeine), I have never in my life felt better
Finally, the Redditor points out that he has broken free from “all addictive substances”, including caffeine and that his life is infinitely better. This is awesome and very commendable. Many people get trapped in the cycles of addiction and never escape and the fact that he did is a good thing.
However, does his subjective experience and unique framing of drugs justify the strategy to “demonize drug use in youth and adults?”
Of course not.
Because just as he has plenty of stories of addicts fucking up their lives, there are more stories of people who take drugs and don’t fuck up their lives. There are scores of people who have taken psychedelics and revolutionized the planet with new ways of looking at things.
Of course, drug use shouldn’t be glorified either. It should simply be a “thing” that we do as humans. Some of us opt to remain drug free and others engage with different kinds of drugs. From sugar to caffeine, heroin to cannabis – people engage with their environment as they see fit.
For some, drug use might be a slippery slope to the seventh circle of hell, for others it is the epiphany they needed to escape the torments of their past.
Therefore, it’s far wiser to simply be open about drug use. To acknowledge that it’s a part of life and that if done responsibly, it can provide benefit. And of course, if done irresponsible – the opposite is also true!