In 2016, an estimated 27.1 million people in the United States had used an illegal drug just within a month’s span. Do you fall into this category? Regardless if you are one of those people, the controversy regarding drugs has been going on longer than most of us have existed. But why? Shouldn’t we be the controllers of what we put into our own body? Theoretically, if controlled, safe drug use is considered to be as detrimental to the public’s health as many have said it is then we would currently be fighting a war on fast food as well. To take this a step a step further, the debates of gun control parallel.

Hamilton Morris has dedicated the last seven years traveling the world and exploring the chemistry, history and societal impacts of some of the world’s most potent and controversial drugs. Rather than his work being strictly pen and paper research, he takes it to another level and tries the drugs first hand to find out exactly how they work. From trying Africa’s most common recreational drug, Quaaludes, traveling to Mexico to understand magic mushrooms, Hamilton even speaks to addicts and growers of the drugs.

In a recent interview with Joe Rogan, the two discuss many controversial topics surrounding drug control. While it was not a conversation of if drugs should be banned, yes or no, but seeing it from both sides. All the drugs that Hamilton had tried on his show were legal and used for on a medicinal/spiritual level so he had a first hand experience of how when used in a controlled and correct environment, some drugs can have a healing effect. For instance, Kratom, a drug created from crushed leaves in Thailand, is a most natural opiate used for getting people off an Oxycotin addiction. After the rise of it, government officials had banned Kratom due to the fact it had been pinching off the profits of opium, which is taxed. How is this okay? The natural drug that helped with people battling opioid addiction, was made illegal just because the government was not receiving any profit.

Now let us take an illegal drug that is schedule 1 classified, marijuana, that has more health benefits, and less addictive than the average drug. Marijuana has been known to treat anxiety, depression, glaucoma, cancer and much more. While according to the government, marijuana has no reason to be used medicinally, yet, alcohol has been known to cause more death and health problems, but is completely legal. After a night of drinking, the hangover you get is your body reacting to the addictive behavior of alcohol and the feeling of a being dehydrated is your body going through a withdraw. There are people who go bungee jumping and skydiving for a living, which is literally falling to your death, yet that is not outlawed? Hamilton brings up an important argument stating how TTX, Cebu toxin and lead are all deadly, dangerous drugs yet they are not prohibited. The drugs that are enjoyed are the ones being controlled while the actual “bad” drugs are not because people are not using them.

The idea that making a certain substance illegal will decrease the number of users and deaths, I believe is absurd. When not easily accessible, users can run the risk of using a certain drug that has been laced leading to an overdose. Just how when people say “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” the same goes for illicit substances. The drug itself is not going to is not going to jump out of the bag and kill you, but the incorrect dosage will. It is ironic how policy makers, most who have no done drugs, are in control of the decision whether a drug does or does not serve any benefits, while there are doctors and scientist whom have used some substances for treatment. Instead of controlling whether or not a person can use, make it more safe for when they do use. Many music festivals have starting to test drugs at the event so users re aware of what is in their product and if it is actually 4x the average dose. We will never be able to stop the use of drugs just how we will not be able to shut down underage drinking or unhealthy lifestyles, all we can instill is for a safe use.

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Gabi Kaftan

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